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Next Generation Instrument for In-Depth Analysis of Mitochondrial Fitness

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - NextGen-O2k (Next Generation Instrument for In-Depth Analysis of Mitochondrial Fitness)

Reporting period: 2019-06-01 to 2020-05-31

Mitochondria and chloroplasts are key factors when facing the new challenges of the millennia for biomedicine, biotechnology and for developing a sustainable bio-economy. Mitochondrial fitness is an important parameter for diagnosis and therapeutic applications in multiple human pathologies, such as neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes, and cancer. In the biotechnology field, the optimization of algal growth rate and metabolite production requires novel investigations and monitoring of the bioenergetic pathway control exerted by mitochondria and chloroplasts. However, current technologies to study mitochondrial and chloroplast function are limited, providing segmented information, and lacking inter-laboratory reproducibility. As a result, the understanding of cellular bioenergetics for medical and algal biotechnology applications remains poor.

The overall objective of this project is to complete the development of the NextGen-O2k and prepare its market launch in 2021. The NextGen-O2k is a multi-sensor platform for the in-depth study of mitochondrial and chloroplast functional fitness. In a compact and affordable device, we have integrated several sensors for detecting multiple key parameters of bioenergetics, with superior resolution and reproducibility. With the NextGen-O2k we will provide researchers with a tool able to improve knowledge about mitochondrial dysfunction and chloroplast photosynthesis, while bringing savings in experimental time, samples and funds. The NextGen-O2k project is a step forward towards understanding mitochondrial implication in human pathologies and in the optimization of biomass production. Our focus in on generating knowledge about mitochondrial function and dysfunction, chloroplast photosynthesis and algal metabolism, while addressing the reproducibility crisis in science.
WP1: In the first year of the NextGen-O2k project, the new Q- and PB-Modules supported by the new architecture of the upgraded DatLab software have been developed and integrated. Additionally, we have successfully partnered with Key Opinion Leaders to begin testing the Q-Module prototypes. Working closely with our subcontractors WGT and H-Tech, key components such as cyclic voltammetry have been integrated into the system.

WP2: During testing in the first project year, optimal measurement conditions were determined for using the Q-sensor with a variety of biological samples. Simultaneously testing began of the beta version of DatLab. New SUIT protocols were developed for general, pre-clinical, and algal biotechnology applications. A focus has also been given to internal and external quality control measures.

WP3: In year one of the project, we aimed to improve the reproducibility of experimental results and support customers with new developments. Therefore, we created an SOP for the new Q-Module, 6 new manuals and O2k-Videosupport clips for the Q-Module, DatLab7.4 mitochondrial preparations, and TPP+ and ISE electrodes.

WP4: During the first year of the project we dedicated time to our IP strategy and successfully registered “NextGen-O2k”, “DatLab” and “High-Resolution Respirometry” as EU-trademarks. In addition to IP management and periodic IP Watch to ensure that our Freedom-to-operate (FTO) remains unimpeded, we also increased our distributor engagement. Furthermore, we explored the NextGen-O2k’s potential as a medical device and made progress on its algal biotechnology applications. The final component of WP4 for year one was the preparation for ISO certification and the implementation of new quality control measures.

One of the first tasks completed for WP5 in year one of the project was the creation of the NextGen-O2k project webpages. We also created and updated a customer-friendly product website. As part of our KOL engagement, we have worked closely with the Q-Module KOLs of the biomedical field to train them and receive feedback on the prototypes. Further strengthening our brand recognition, a communication strategy has been put into place to bring an updated corporate identity with a new look to marketing materials and increased social media presence. In addition to our print and digital presence, the Oroboros Team attended international conferences and hosted O2k-Workshops. To bring awareness to relevant scientific publications in the field, O2k-briefs summarizing key work were published regularly. Finally, in response to COVID-19 we launched a new scientific journal, BEC (Bioenergetics Communications -

WP6: The NextGen-O2k project was successfully started in June 2019. During the first year, the project administration, development, risk and quality control were effectively managed. With close collaboration and regular meetings, the 6 deliverables due were satisfactorily submitted by the end of the first project year.
By the end of the project, the Q-Module and PB-Module will be integrated into the NextGen-O2k. The NextGen-O2k launch event will mark its readiness for commercialization in both the biomedical and algal biotechnological fields.

The all-in-one concept of the NextGen-O2k offers a unique instrument for simultaneous measurements of O2 flux and further parameters. As a cost-efficient, powerful and compact piece of equipment for space-constrained laboratories, it overcomes existing market restraints. In the biomedical field, the NextGen-O2k will revolutionize the current research methods, providing deeper insight into cellular functions in health and disease.

Furthermore, the 2 new modules will help to diversify the instrumentation market for measurement of photosynthesis and bioenergetics in microalgae and plant cells. To facilitate our entry into this market, a special emphasis will be put on sample preparations and model organisms that are of most interest to our target future users: industrialists and researchers. By working closely with Key Opinion Leaders in the field we will be able to identify these preparations and models.

With the availability of the NextGen-O2k, the quality and reproducibility of respirometric measurements in both fields will be significantly improved. As a result, there will be a better understanding of the current knowledge of cell physiology and factors affecting algae biomass production, helping push forward the European bio-economy based on algae-derived products and positively impacting the society with the development of a greener economy.

Commercialization is key to ensuring the above impacts in the biomedical and bio-economy fields come to fruition. By developing a range of targeted applications and protocols for measurements using the NextGen-O2k in these fields, we help cement its place as a relevant and crucial instrument, leading to successful commercialization. Contributing to a successful launch, support materials including manuals, detailed SOPs and O2k-Videosupport clips, as well as published papers, will be finalized during the 2nd project year. With these measures along with an updated IPR strategy and a solid distributor network including Asia, South America and Middle East, the NextGen-O2k will be empowering laboratories all over the world to contribute to solving the societal challenges of the 21st century.
Q-Module training of KOLs
ASMRM2019 meeting with distributor Berthold Japan K.K.
NextGen-O2k awarded as best Tyrolean innovation in Life-Sciences 2019
PB-Module measurements