Vortex BioSciences, a NetScientific portfolio company and STRATEC Consumables GmbH, a wholly owned subsidiary of STRATEC Biomedical AG, Birkenfeld, Germany, announced the signing of a supply agreement covering a customized microfluidic polymer chip. This chip is a key component of the VTX-1 instrument, an automated liquid biopsy platform which provides a simple, label free isolation of circulating tumor cells directly from a tube of blood.

This microfluidic research platform was developed in Dino Di Carlo’s Lab at UCLA which has been successfully transferred to the commercial VTX-1 Liquid Biopsy System. The label-free microfluidic device utilizes inertial lift and laminar microvortices, allowing larger and more deformable cancer cells to be collected while smaller cells such as red and white blood cells pass through. With this technology, Vortex BioSciences is offering the best available liquid biopsy platform for CTC isolation and collection from patient samples.

Adapting the design to a commercial scale microfluidic device can be guaranteed at STRATEC at their ISO-13485 certified facility in Salzburg, Austria. By offering technical capabilities from initial concept through mass manufacturing, STRATEC can ensure silicon precision in plastics and high reproducibility.

“We are delighted to be partnering with STRATEC to fabricate our microfluidic chip. This chip is the essential element of our label-free technology to enable an efficient and fully-automated patient sample processing”, said Bob Englert, Chief Executive Officer at Vortex Biosciences. “The transfer from a variable research-level polymer prototype to a robust and reproducible plastic commercial chip is a key part of a successful transfer of technology to the market. This ultimately enables CTCs to be more widely used in cancer research and become part of the standard of care”, said Elodie Sollier, Chief Scientific Officer and co-founder at Vortex Biosciences.

“Bringing the Vortex chip into mass-manufacturing was a very exciting project for us. Vortex is inspiring both in its benefit to the constantly maturing liquid biopsy market, as well as in their balance of being science-driven but focused on commercialization. It is exactly with companies like Vortex where we see our big strength in actively participating in the transformation process of a new technology from a lab idea, or early prototypes to an actual medical product, eventually fit for the IVD market”, says Maximilian Pitzek, Project Manager at STRATEC Consumables.