A Novel Insert
Taking in-vitro testing to essential new applications

Since its inception in the mid 1950s and widespread use in the 80s, the cell culture insert, otherwise known as Transwell™, has enabled a vast range of discoveries and applications.

To biologists who grow tissue on multiwell plate inserts, SiMPLI is a drop-in replacement that significantly extends the range of in-vitro capabilities in multiple directions:

  • Transport and permeability studies of large molecules, nanoparticles in particular
  • Permeability studies through non cellular membranes such as mucuses or biofilms
  • Transport studies of non soluble lipophilic chemicals

While the packaging remains compatible with standard multi-well plate, advancing from a thick semi-permeable plastic membrane to an ultra thin ceramic one brings a sea change in applications due to SiMPLI’s membrane unique properties:

Ultrathin

20x thinner (500nm) for a pore to thickness aspect ratio similar to that of a basement membrane. Transport is less inhibited leading to more precise measurement of tissue apparent permeability.

Reliable

Precise pore pattern for quantifiable and reproducible results. No merged pores.

Refractory

With a 2 173°K melting point, the Silicon Nitride membrane does not melt under the beam of an electron microscope.

Bio-compatible

Unlike bio-compatible plastics which are always hydrophobic, the bio-compatible ceramic membrane in SiMPLI is hydrophilic fostering cell attachment and viability.

Biomimetic

Co-culture cells exhibit similar cross-talk across the ultra-thin ceramic membrane as through basement membrane in-vivo enabling physiological adherent cell interaction.

Lipophobic

Unlike surface treated plastic membranes, SiMPLI is intrinsically lipophobic, preventing unspecific interaction with non soluble lipophilic chemicals.

Transparent

For direct optical inspection. Unlike plastic membranes which become translucent when etched to be permeable, SiMPLI's membranes are both transparent and highly permeable.

Integrable

Next generation SiMPLI will integrate non invasive sensors and electrodes, leveraging the vast array of microfabrication technology into a smart cell growing surface - smart well plate.

Adaptable

A clipable version can be provided and various pore density, size and pattern can be made to order (within constraints).
About Us
Advancing in-vitro through innovation and ergonomics

What we do

At SiMPLInext, we aim to help unlock the value biologists have created in developing cell based assays, protocols and in-vitro expertise by advancing familiar labware technology.

The result opens new research horizons, helping biologists explore biological membrane permeability to nano particles, extend apparent permeability studies to very permeable non cellular membranes such as mucuses or biofilms, observe cellular cross-talk across the insert, continuously monitor TEER at the surface of the tissue itself…

Committed to biologist centered innovation.

When it comes to innovating, SiMPLI starts with the biologist, pharmacist or toxicologist. We identify opportunities to leverage familiar procedures into new applications, disrupting the underlying technology, not the ergonomics.

Vision and Focus

In-vivo testing shows its limits in ethical, social and regulatory acceptance as well as scientific relevance. In-vitro technology provides results faster and cheaper but existing labware is often not biomimetic enough to provide relevant results in some of the most challenging areas such as nanomedicine and nanotoxicity.

SiMPLInext is dedicated to bridging that gap with familiar, cost effective and scalable new tools.

Team
  • Patrick Albert
    Independent Director

    Patrick has a dual education in engineering and business administration, a results-driven culture and have a strong professional experience in technology, sales and …

  • Silvia Angeloni
    Business Development Manager

    Silvia is a chemical engineer committed to transferring technology, solving problems, and research. She has envisioned SiMPInext.

  • Kaspar Suter
    Production and quality assurance advisor.

    Kaspar’s background includes microfabrication, photolitho process development and innovation, integrated circuit design, batch production, quality assurance, yield management.

Project
A long history and a vision for the future.

2008: the MediTrans European project challenged the CSEM SA into providing a double chamber microfluidic system for biological barrier modelling.

Alas, leaks, membrane breakage and radical protocol changes made the ceramic membrane useless to biologists.

The good news is cells were growing and developing on the membrane. The problem was packaging, ergonomics.

2009: Spending time with biologists to understand routine lab work routine pointed at Corning’s Transwell as the widely adopted solution to let biologists observe transport.

image0052010: A first generation machined stainless steel prototype made it possible to clamp and seal the silicon nitride membrane using an o-ring.

A 6-well plate solution made it possible to observe transport of 50nm nanoparticles. Electrodes on the membrane allowed direct TEER measurement.

2011: Validation with nano carriers for intestines (Caco-2), in partnership with Saarland UniversityHelmholtz Institute Saarbrücken (DE). 

First patent filed “Clamping insert for cell culture” EP11174937.0.

2012: Validation on tumoral blood brain barrier smart carrier drug delivery and the Pathology CHUV department – UNIL (Lausanne, CH).

3D printed clamping prototype (non bio compatible) allows exploring injection molding clamping.

First patent filed in the US under US20130022500 A1

2013: Validation for lung cell co-cultures (A549, endothelium, dendritic cells and macrophages) with Adolphe Merkle Institute, UniFri, BioNanomaterials Department (Fribourg, CH)

First patent published in Europe under EP2548943 

2015: SiMPLInext granted a total of 30K CHFso far in first two stages of VentureKick.

2nd Patent “Well inserts with brittle membranes” filed PCT/EP2015/060312. 

Successful production of overmolded 12 well inserts.

Prix Neode 2015. Prix spécial du Jury, awarded to Silvia Angeloni for her project SiMPLInext (communiqué de presse).