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Cellink Subsidiary Cytena to Launch “World Changing” Single-Cell Technology

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Even amid a world-halting pandemic that had companies across the world struggling to survive, leading bioprinting manufacturer Cellink has thrived thanks to its new high-profile product launches, successful acquisitions, and collaborative research endeavors – even with AstraZeneca. The Gothenberg, Sweden-based business even achieved $1 billion in market valuation in just five years and became the first European Innovation Council (EIC)-funded unicorn. Now, Cellink and its new subsidiary company cytena claim they will be “changing the world of single-cell technologies.”

On January 25, 2021, the company will host a webinar to launch the new product. Even though it is being kept entirely under wraps, we know that the novel single-cell technology system will have an improved rate of monoclonality, faster speed, and lower costs. According to a Cellink announcement, it is slated to be the “ultimate upgrade to cell line development workflows,” which will be ideal for researchers to increase efficiency, minimize errors, and automate repeatable tasks.

Cellink acquired cytena to incorporate the company’s revolutionary single-cell technology into its expanding portfolio. Image courtesy of Cellink’s CEO Eric Gatenholm via Twitter.

Cellink’s Co-founder and CEO, Eric Gatenholm, recently said on a Twitter post that “as a bio-convergence company, we offer several ways of working with the latest cell technologies. Exciting to see how the world of medicine is increasingly interested in investigating single cells as well as tissues, all of which can be printed with our tech.”

No longer just a bioprinting company, Cellink has successfully embraced other emerging biotechnologies to leverage breakthroughs in the life sciences and meet the growing healthcare needs. With a team of 330 engineers, the pioneering business has garnered a lot of attention from pharmaceutical research and drug development firms, researchers working with tissue engineering, cell culturing and liquid handling, and over 1,500 labs worldwide. In a move to expand its capabilities in both pharma and cosmetics, Cellink acquired cytena for €30.3 million in August 2019, gaining access to the startup’s revolutionary technology platforms.


Founded in 2014 as a spin-off from the Institute for Microsystems Technology (IMTEK) at the University of Freiburg, cytena develops patented single-cell printing technologies in Germany. Single cells are required to create modern drugs, so-called biopharmaceuticals, and single cells’ genetic analysis in cancer and stem cell research.

The cytena family of single-cell printers consists of laboratory devices for handling and sorting individual viable cells. Its patented technology allows the isolation of single cells in a documented, gentle, and sterile way. It enables researchers to isolate cells for cell line development and build microtissues faster and more reproducibly, thanks to its contact-free deposition of single cells encapsulated in micro-droplets. Most of the top ten pharmaceutical companies in the world already use cytena’s single-cell printers to manufacture biologicals, such as antibodies.

cytena’s systems use its patented single-cell technology. Image courtesy of cytena.

According to André Gross, cytena Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, other competing single-cell systems are complex, expensive, require substantial training to operate, and cannot prove clonality or safeguard against cross-contamination. In the last few years, assurance of clonality (proof that exactly one single-cell is delivered to the target) has become of significant importance for clinical approval procedures by regulatory authorities in the pharmaceutical industry. Without it, agencies like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will often require additional manufacturing controls, increasing the cost of trials and delaying drugs to market.

One of cytena’s focus has been to optimize workflows and document proof of clonality across any substrate, so we can expect this feature to continue throughout any of its new product launches in the future. Cytena already uses its patented technology across four platforms. Each is designed to document clonality with high-cell viability and no-cross contamination.

Central to cell line development workflows is the proof of clonality in cytena products. Image courtesy of cytena.

With a global market potential estimated to top $8 billion by 2027, single-cell analysis technologies can bridge the gap from research laboratories to clinical settings. With Cellink as its parent company, cytena has the opportunity to accelerate growth thanks to the combined synergies in marketing, sales, and R&D and the more robust global presence Cellink provides. The upcoming launch will indeed prove how much more the two companies can achieve together.

After the highly-publicized Cellink acquisition, the subsidiary partnered with medical device manufacturer Omni Life Science, launched an innovative liquid handling system that will help with high-throughput COVID-19 testing and research, and began a collaboration with AstraZeneca to develop a new generation of plate-based micro bioreactors. Adding to the list, the anticipated new launch will be another milestone for the company and a great start to 2021. Anyone interested in registering for the webinar can do so here.

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