Akadeum Life Sciences scores patent for buoyancy-based cell separation “microbubble” tech.

Amanda Pedersen

June 21, 2022

4 Min Read
image design of a stamp that reads "patent protected"
Image courtesy of YAY Media AS / Alamy Stock Vector

Akadeum Life Sciences has scored a patent for its method of buoyancy-based cell sorting (BACS) technologies from biological fluid samples. The Ann Arbor, MI-based firm says the use of microbubbles are used to separate targeted cell groups. Most notably, the patent protects Akadeum's T and B Cell isolation kits along with its entire portfolio of cell separation technology kit products.

A strong positioning point of the patent is the protection for all future applications and products under the buoyant separation protocols in the pipeline. These include Akadeum’s upcoming leukopaks isolation and dead cell removal kits, the company noted. The patent also strengthens Akadeum's position to license its technology for broader use in ongoing cell and gene-based therapy research in many areas, such as immuno-oncology.

Diagram showing how the microbubble cell separation technology developed by Akadeum Life Sciences works.

“From day one, our mission has been to solve today’s problems facing researchers and scientists in the field of cell separation,” said Brandon McNaughton, PhD, CEO and founder of Akadeum. “The issuance of this patent stems from the origins of Akadeum’s body of work and cements our position as the leading company offering solutions in flotation-based cell separation technologies. More importantly, this patent strengthens the ability for Akadeum to provide proprietary products that support groundbreaking biological and clinical discoveries of researchers.”

The patent, number 11,291,931 issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, marks Akadeum’s fourth issued patent. The use of cell separation technologies has nearly doubled over the past five years as research activity explodes with the confluence of technological advancements and the implementation of the immune system to study and diagnose diseases.

“In research settings, it is vital to have the ability to gently, quickly, and effectively isolate cells with minimal handling. By creating access to specific cell types, like T cells and B cells taken from tissue or blood, cell sorting and separation are carving a new path for applications to improve human health like cell therapy, single-cell sequencing, and the production of antibodies. However, common methods of cell sorting technology utilizing fluorescence or magnetics (FACS and MACS respectively) still present volume limitation challenges and time-consuming workflows,” McNaughton said.

Akadeum’s BACS technology uses low-density particles, or microbubbles, to float targeted cells to the top of a sample. BACS technology eliminates the need for a magnet or column within the separation process, creating a more cost-effective and less limited workflow than standard methods used throughout the industry. This simple method allows researchers to get as close to the biology they are studying as possible due to the reduced workflow time and gentleness, resulting in an efficient high purity and high yield sample.

Akadeum Life Sciences was formed to solve longstanding sample preparation problems in research, diagnostics, and cell therapy markets with a novel floatation-based target isolation platform technology. Without the critical step of separation (isolating biological targets like DNA, proteins, or cells from biological samples), many diagnostics and therapies would not be possible. More than a solution to a single problem, this elegantly simple platform technology is disrupting the separation market—from nucleic acid extraction to cell isolation. The company was the first to commercialize BACS microbubble kits for cell isolation applications. In parallel, the company says it is also establishing industry partnerships.

Did you hear? Sound can also be used for cell separation

Cell separation technology can separate cells into several channels, allowing more cell types to be analyzed simultaneously..png

Back in 2012, researchers at Penn State University developed a cell separation technology using two beams of acoustic waves to act as tweezers.

The sound-based technology is capable of sorting cells into five or more channels, MD+DI reported at the time. The technique, according to Tony Jun Huang, associate professor of engineering science and mechanics, can easily alter the paths of the cells, allowing more cell types to be analyzed simultaneously and paving the way for smaller, more-efficient, less-expensive analytic medical devices. For example, biological, genetic, or medical labs could eventually employ the device for performing a range of analyses, such as blood and genetic testing.

The research team reported results in 2015 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

About the Author(s)

Amanda Pedersen

Amanda Pedersen is a veteran journalist and award-winning columnist with a passion for helping medical device professionals connect the dots between the medtech news of the day and the bigger picture. She has been covering the medtech industry since 2006.

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