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Project description

A novel electrophysiological platform will foster drug discovery for brain diseases

Our knowledge of the brain and its neurons has increased tremendously over the years. Scientists can now analyse events and structures from the molecular scale up to entire brain regions using a variety of techniques. Electrophysiology measures the flow of ions into and out of cells that is associated with synaptic transmission. Recordings of synchronised activity in large populations of cells are quite common. Recordings of individual membrane potential changes in single cells has also become commonplace. However, recording individual activity in thousands of cells simultaneously at high resolution remains elusive. In-Cytes is developing an electrophysiological platform for such high throughput, high-resolution measurement of interconnected activity to spur drug discovery for debilitating brain diseases.


MaxWell Biosystems AG (MxW) is a Swiss public limited company (AG) who developed electrophysiological platforms (hardware-software-bioassays) for basic research and drug testing on nerve cells. MxW’s aim is to develop In-Cytes, a radically innovative electrophysiology platform to assess neural connectivity for preclinical drug discovery for brain diseases. In contrast to the state-of-the-art technologies for quantifying neural connectivity, which either estimate indirect connectivity or feature poor spatial resolution, In-Cytes can measure physiological direct neural intracellular connectivity among thousands of neurons. This directly addresses the industrial need in pharmacy for neural connectivity bioassays, featuring high-throughput and minimum interference with neurons’ physiology for the development of effective drugs to cure neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

The proposed recruitment of an Innovation Associate will have significant impact on the business opportunities of MxW by bringing in lacking expertise for the development of In-Cytes. The envisaged grant will help to overcome the recruitment barriers of being a relatively unknown, small start-up enterprise that cannot compete with larger companies due to limited visibility, brand awareness, (perceived) career opportunities, salary and recruitment budget.

The development of In-Cytes requires the employment of an academic expert with a multidisciplinary set of skills combining knowledge in neuroscience, microfabrication and data analysis. In turn, the innovation associate will have the opportunity to become an expert in the emerging field of bio-engineering. It is in the interest of the company to continue the employment after the initial year in order to develop the first prototype of In-Cytes into an industrial end product.

Call for proposal


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Net EU contribution
€ 135 500,00
Albisriederstrasse 253
8047 Zurich

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Schweiz/Suisse/Svizzera Zürich Zürich
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Other funding
€ 0,00