Innovation mandate with spin-off: Photoporation for in vitro / ex vivo transfecting of cells

01 January 2018 → 31 December 2019
Regional and community funding: IWT/VLAIO
Research disciplines
  • Medical and health sciences
    • Biomarker discovery and evaluation
    • Drug discovery and development
    • Medicinal products
    • Pharmaceutics
    • Pharmacognosy and phytochemistry
    • Pharmacology
    • Pharmacotherapy
    • Toxicology and toxinology
    • Other pharmaceutical sciences
  • Engineering and technology
    • Chemical product design and formulation
    • Biomaterials engineering
Project description

Optimizing the laser-induced photoporation technology (expanding the transfection portfolio, including larger nucleic acids and plant cells) and translating it into a disruptive, market-worthy product portfolio (device and reagents) and demonstrating the added value compared to the current state-of-the-art transfection methods adhv some user cases.
- increasing the transfection efficiency of large, (negatively charged) molecules. Here it is the objective to overcome the current limitation in molecular size that one can bring. The aim here is to create conditions (composition of a 'booster' buffer, optimization of nanoparticles and laser parameters) that allow functional transfections of cells to an efficiency of more than 50% for mRNA and more than 15% for pDNA.
- extrapolating the photoporation technology to hard transferable cells such as plant cells. The aim is to create conditions that allow plant cells to be photoporated (possibly in the form of protoplasts) so that external material (eg sgRNA-CAS9 RNA-protein complex) can be introduced.
- gain insight into the effects of photoporation on the homeostasis of cells with benchmarking on current commercial technologies including electroporation and lipofection.
- elaboration of user cases in which the unique possibilities and added value compared to the state-of-the-art of photoporation technology (in the form of a demonstrator device) are used by researchers where the current methods prove insufficiently adequate: - transfection of fluorescently labeled nano- and antibodies for 'life cell imaging'; - screening study of locked nucleic acides (LNA) in T cells; - CRISPR-CAS9 mediated genetic modification of cells.
The obtained results must allow us to put together a product portfolio (appliance + reagents) and launch this via a spin-off in the market. These products will allow the user to efficiently transfect cells (including difficult transfectable cells) with a wide range of components.