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Assays with adherent cells dominate drug discovery where they are used to identify drug targets and evaluate compounds for potency, toxicity, and mechanism of action. A widespread pain point is the need to attach adherent cells to culture plates or well plates.

This causes workflow challenges in three core application areas:

  1. a minimum of 24 hours is required in cell preparation, which severely limits the

    throughput and reproducibility of rapid cell assays;

  2. the need to plate different cell types in different wells makes conducting drug

    screens against large cell panels extremely labour and resource intensive; and

  3. experiments on more biologically relevant, but often scarce, cells such as

    patient-derived biopsies or induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells cannot be done at scale because culture plates require large amounts of cells.

Semarion is revolutionising how to work with adherent cells. Their SemaCyte® magnetic flat microcarriers addresses the key challenges of adherent cell workflows by turning adherent cells into liquid reagents, an approach that enables multiplexing and reduces prep time, cell numbers required and costs by orders of magnitude.

Semarion was spun out of the University of Cambridge by Start Codon and has since received follow on funding by Parkwalk, the University of Cambrige, Marlet Capital and Vincent Tchenguiz.

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