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LUCERO BIO: Smart Optofluidic Isolation of Spheroids for Early-Stage Drug Discovery

Project description

Innovative 3D cell culture handling platform for preclinical drug screening

Personalised medicine can address variations of drug efficacy and toxicity linked to different patient subgroups. Pharmaceutical companies need innovative technologies to predict the effects of drug candidates on patients before entering clinical trials. The preclinical drug procedures require that technologies be selective for the detection and isolation of patient-derived 3D cell cultures and scalable for high-throughput drug screening. Lucero in Sweden is working on a novel AI-assisted cell handling platform that combines microfluidics and optical tweezers. The company developed an integrated benchtop device for in vitro handling of 3D mini spheroid cell cultures. The EU-funded LUCERO-BIO project will expand the prototype’s functionalities, adjusting the design to automatically detect spheroid viability and automate their isolation to enhance the drug screening workflow.

Objective

Personalised medicine has become a key focus for the pharmaceutical industry as it can address global health challenges, such as
strong variations of drug efficacy and toxicity linked to different patient subgroups. A major obstacle that pharmaceutical companies still face is the lack of enabling technologies to predict the effects of drug candidates in patients before entering clinical trials. In preclinical drug screening procedures, pharmaceutical companies demand that the technologies be selective in terms of detection and isolation of patient-derived 3D cell cultures while being scalable for high-throughput drug screening. Lucero fills this need by providing a novel cell-handling platform that combines microfluidics, optical tweezers and artificial intelligence. During our ERC PoC project, we developed an integrated benchtop device for in-vitro handling of single 3D cell cultures, in particular mini spheroids. Lucero will build on this achievement by expanding our prototype’s functionalities and adapting its design to automatically detect spheroid viability and fully automate their isolation, to match the drug screening workflow. By thoroughly testing the prototype’s performance and compatibility with our large European pharmaceutical partner on-site, we will mature our prototype to technological readiness level (TRL) 6. Based on their feedback we will increase our commercial readiness level (CRL) 6 and will be ready for the next acceleration phase.

The intended result of this proposal is to introduce Lucero’s 3D cell-handling platform as an enabling tool for pharmaceutical
companies to develop more effective “near-patient” treatments at a lower cost, as well as to establish Europe as a leader in precision healthcare.

Coordinator

Lucero AB
Net EU contribution
€ 1 298 712,00
Address
C/o astrazeneca r&d mölndal pepparedsleden 3
431 83 Mölndal
Sweden

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Region
Södra Sverige Västsverige Västra Götalands län
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Links
Other funding
€ 0,50