Single cells on demand

cytena produces lab equipment that isolate, sort and dispense individual human cells or bacteria captured in picoliter droplets. The generation of micro-droplets functions in a way that is similar to an ink-jet printer. An image sensor ensures that each dispensed microdroplet only contains exactly one cell or bacteria. For subsequent processes, the droplet is dispensed contactless on customer-defined substrates – typically a microtiter plate – or in a cell culture dish. The patented method is used especially in the development of monoclonal cell lines for drug production in the pharmaceutical industry.

With the help of the funding program EXIST Research Transfer (BMWi & ESF), the startup was founded in 2014 by microsystem engineering doctoral students Jonas Schöndube and André Groß, economist Benjamin Steimle, Dr. Peter Koltay and BioFluidix. Within just 5 years it has achieved a company value of 30 million euros and since August 2019 belongs to the Swedish biotechnology company Cellink. The core technology has its origins in groundwork developed between 2000 and 2010 by Dr. Peter Koltay and the engineer Dr. Roland Zengerle, IMTEK Professor for MEMS Applications, in cooperation with Hahn-Schickard. The groundwork continued to be developed in various research projects from 2010 to 2014 until it reached the prototype stage.