Technological Incubator for Functional 3D Cell Culture
The basic idea of ClinoStar™ was created when the two founders of the biotech company CelVivo, who both have a solid research background from different universities, started building the first prototypes themselves. The prototype became so popular among their research colleagues that CelVivo wanted to develop a more holistic solution which in one integrated unit creates the possibility to work with cells which can regain their in vivo physiological features and thereby behave as in human beings. For that reason, CelVivo contacted Develco with the desire to get a new developed solution with an integrated clinostat-based incubator.
CelVivo’s new user-friendly CO₂ incubator ClinoStar™ is technologically of a very high quality and with precise motor control and climate regulation enabling functional 3D cell culture which among other things can be used for tests of medicines or other research at universities and research laboratories. The incubator ClinoStar™ consists of 6 independent motors for controlling the 6 bioreactors called ClinoReactors. CelVivo has themselves developed the unique ClinoReactor ensuring the optimal growth conditions for cells. Develco has developed electronics, hardware and embedded software for ClinoStar™ in close co-operation with Cuva, which has developed the mechanics for the incubator, and Iterator IT, which has developed the App for remote control of ClinoStar™.
When ClinoReactor is rotated via one of the 6 motors in ClinoStar™ a state is achieved where the cells “float” in the cell medium and thereby they are not affected by other factors such as for instance the surfaces in a petri dish which is known from traditional 2D cell culture. With ClinoStar™ researchers from different fields can grow cell cultures in vitro with amazing results. The unique thing about cell culture with ClinoStar™ unlike competing technologies is that the cells can be cultured long enough for them to achieve their in vivo state and thereby regain their functionality. ClinoStar™ is in this way not only cell culture in 3D; functional cells in 3D are created.
CelVivo delivers ClinoStar™ together with a Samsung tablet installed with an App with intuitive software for remote control and configuration of the process in the incubator. The software in the App is updated currently and one Samsung tablet can control a total of 50 ClinoStars™.
A ClinoStar™ has 6 reactor holders in which a ClinoReactor can be placed. The rotation is ensured by brushless DC motors, for which Develco has developed the motor control for precise control of the individual speeds of rotation of the reactor holders via the tablet. The speed of rotation of the reactors depends on the type of cells to be grown in the reactors and how far the cells are in the growth process. In the door of ClinoStar™ 6 cameras are placed and via the tablet the cameras follow the development of the cells in each of the 6 reactors during the cell culture. It is important to keep the door of the incubator closed in order to control the temperature and the CO₂ level for optimal 3D cell culture and to minimize the risk of infection. By using the 6 cameras researchers can follow the development of the cells without disturbing the environment in the incubator.
The app on the tablet takes photos and videos of the cell culture via the 6 cameras in the door of the incubator and shows the temperature and the CO₂ level measured via the installed sensors in ClinoStar ™. A fan is also installed in the chamber to ensure a homogeneous growth environment, just as an UV-C beacon can disinfect ClinoStar™ to achieve a cleaner environment for 3D cell culture.
“For Develco, it has been an incredibly exciting development project with CelVivo’s new incubator ClinoStar™ for functional 3D cell culture at research laboratories and universities. ClinoStar™ contains many technologies which we are experts in at Develco, but also new technologies and challenges that we have had to learn during the development process. Right now the focus is on the individual ClinoStar™, but at the same time the incubator is designed for future features: where many ClinoStars™ can be included in the same experiment or laboratory experiment and parts of the control or the monitoring of experiments can take place via the Cloud. In the development project with Clinostar™ there has not been far from idea to action and implementation of solutions. For me as a project manager and the entire team at Develco, it has been a huge inspiration to work closely with CelVivo”, says Erik Refsgaard, Senior Project Manager at Develco”.
- 6 brushless DC motors for motor control
- 6 cameras with 5 mega pixel resolution
- System On Module from Variscite running Linux
- Communication via WiFi and Ethernet
- Precise regulation of temperature and CO₂ level via embedded sensors
- UV-C beacon for disinfection of reactor
- High Cybersecurity with encrypted data
- UL and CE approval
“Being a part of CelVivo’s network, the choice of Technology Development Partner naturally fell on Develco. For CelVivo, the co-operation with Develco has been a very good match between cell biology and technology. The collaboration has been based on trust, responsibility, and the best decisions with ongoing preparation of requirements specifications throughout the development process. CelVivo wanted a rapid product development and market introduction of ClinoStar™. And at Develco, there has not been a long way from idea to action and development of the best and cost-effective solutions. Develco has been involved in the entire process with ClinoStar™ from the first product idea to product development and on to production management of ClinoStar™, for which Develco is also responsible. After the introduction of ClinoStar™ CelVivo is one of the leading suppliers of systems for 3D functional cell culture. We can only recommend Develco as a responsible development partner with a rapid and sharp project management of both product development and production management“, says Søren Alnøe, COO at CelVivo.