Freiburg, Germany — cytena was distinguished with the Innovation Award of Baden-Württemberg, one of the most economically powerful and competitive regions in Europe. Since 1985, the Ministry of Economics recognizes small and medium-sized enterprises for their innovative products, processes and services. The Ministry of Economics awarded 50,000€ in prize money in dedication to the former Minister of Economics, Dr. Rudolf Eberle (1926-1984). cytena GmbH, founded in 2014 as a spin-off from the University of Freiburg and the research institute Hahn-Schickard, received this honor for its single-cell printing technology.
The manipulation, sorting and analysis of single biological cells has been rapidly gaining attention in the life-science sector over the last couple of years. cytena’s single-cell printer is a laboratory instrument for handling and sorting living single cells that serves as an innovative tool in this field. Researchers in pharmaceutical industry and basic research appreciate the novel technology for clonal cell line development as well as for single-cell analysis. Compared to alternative technologies, the single-cell printer has many unique advantages, but most importantly, it is fast and gentle even to the most sensitive cell types. The core of the instrument, the printing cartridge, is a single-use disposable to eliminate the risk of cross-contamination, while enabling the encapsulation of single cells in free flying tiny liquid droplets of similar size as produced by inkjet printers. The low-dead-volume of the cartridge allows for use of small liquid volumes and rare cell samples. During operation, the system acquires and stores microscope images of each printed cell, for post-analysis. In addition, this data provides assurance that exactly one single cell is delivered to the target. This assurance of clonality is of major importance for clinical approval procedures in the pharmaceutical industry.
Minister of the Department of Economics, Labor and Housing Dr. Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut explained at the prize ceremony at the House of Commerce in Stuttgart „Innovative ability does not run by itself. Baden-Württemberg needs to continuously make new efforts to remain Europe’s leading region for innovation. The Innovation Prize shines a light on the great potential within our state’s medium sized enterprises in particular and is intended to pose as motivating example for imitation.” In 2017, four companies in total where awarded the Dr. Rudolf-Eberle Prize because of the high number of qualified applications. “We are very proud and grateful that our efforts to provide innovative technology for the life-sciences are so highly recognized” says Dr. Peter Koltay one of the inventors and co-founders of cytena “We have been privileged that our research leading to the technological invention and the foundation of cytena could be carried out in one of the most exciting environments for micro technology research and business, here in Baden-Württemberg.”