‘Every Droplet Counts’ with €1M Investment into French Microfluidic Start-Up

MilliDrop (France) designs and develops cell culture machines based on millifluidic technology for bacterial research and diagnostics, and has now secured a €1M fund-raising from Seventure.

Millidrop_biotech_microfluidics_seventureMillidrop will use the fund to start producing trial runs of its first machine, the MilliDrop Analyzer. This machine uses millifluidics technology to culture and analyse micro-organisms.

The company is also under the Pierre-Gilles de Gennes Institute for Microfluidics (IPGG), which is serving as an incubator for MilliDrop.

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The MilliDrop Analyzer allows the study thousands of cells simultaneously to monitor the phenotypic diversity of a culture population. It also allows the user to conduct multiple serial dilutions of the culture.

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Uniform aqueous droplets (green spheres) containing microalgae are spatially separated by air spacers (in yellow) dispersed in hydrofluoroether oil (blue) are formed at the cross-junction (red circle). On the right, the transparent FEP tube containing the millifluidic droplets is retained inside an incubator at 25°C, under continuous dim illumination. (Source: Research Gate DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0118987)

Philippe Tramoy, partner at the Quadrivium 1 seed fund explained that MilliDrop’s technology will give public and private-sector research laboratories access to high-throughput screening machines, which are unique in the market.

Laurent Boitard, founder and chairman of MilliDrop explained that the sample’s culture medium is no longer a Petri dish or an incubator, but a drop, and this is a major technological breakthrough. And this tech can address the need for analysis of microbes down to the single-cell level with compact, easy-to-use and highly reliable instruments.

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(Left) The preparation module defines the content of the droplets train, (Middle) an actual millifluidic drop between two air spacers. (Right) The sorter module allows you to collect the droplet for complementary analysis (Source: MilliDrop)

Such miniaturisation of cell cultures allows a high-throughput incubation, analysis and manipulation of samples ranging from around 100 nanolitres down to a few picolitres in volume. This is an impressive feat in Micro-droplet miniaturisation, as reducing the sample size can increase productivity a thousand-fold.

Using this technology, MilliDrop therefore works on a new generation of in-vitro diagnostics instruments called MilliDrop DIV, which will enable users to identify infectious agents and the dose needed of antibiotics to tackle them.

The micro and millifluidics field is really blooming in Biotech, which is unsurprising given the range of potential platforms such technology can provide. I anticipate many more start-ups will be pursuing this technology, which is also a popular field in the European Biohacking community.


Short Animation of the MilliDrop Analyzer’s Microfluidic Platform…


Feature Image Credit: Microfluidic Art in the University of Washington Bioengineering Department (Source: The Albert Folch Lab)
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