Cellectric Awarded €1m FFG Grant To Investigate Cell Lysis Technology and Clinically Validate its Prototype Electrodynamic Cell Manipulation System

Cellectric, a leading Austrian deeptech start-up, has received a €1m grant from the Österreichische Forschungsförderungsgesellschaft (Austrian Research Promotion Agency, or FFG) that will fund the ongoing investigation and development of its pionerring cell lysis technology over an 18-month research project.

The project, which will receive a further €500,000 in funding from Cellectric and be conducted in collaboration with Professor Birgit Willinger and Professor Heinz Burgmann from Vienna General Hospital (AKH) and MedUni Vienna, will see the company collect and process  2,000 blood samples from patients suspected of suffering from sepsis. 

Each sample will then be split, allowing Cellectric to directly compare the samples processed via standard workflow (introduced directly into culture medium without lysis) versus those processed using Cellectric’s electrodynamic cell manipulation technology first, which will isolate the pathogens of interest by inducing lysis in non-relevant cell types.  

In total, the project will last 18 months, with the study’s primary objective being to assess whether Cellectric’s method of pathogen isolation produces results that either exceed or align with those obtained from the standard workflow. If either prove true, Cellectric will have demonstrated that its platform could enable faster, more accurate diagnosis of sepsis, thereby making it a tool capable of saving lives. 

Cellectric’s Managing Director and co-founder, Terje Wimberger said: “The whole team at Cellectric is incredibly excited about this grant. FFG’s backing will allow us to clinically test our platform and, once completed, we can continue making rapid advances towards the clinic where we will make a real difference to patients suspected of suffering sepsis, a condition linked to over 10m deaths each year.” 

Dorothea Pittrich, Product Manager and Cellectric’s Head of Application added:  “I am super excited we get to test our technology with clinical samples for the first time. It’s a milestone and I am  grateful we could win the AKH as our clinical collaborator. We are very much looking forward to this  research project.”

Professor Burgmann also said: “An accelerated and simplified process for the detection of pathogens is desperately needed to be able to help sepsis patients earlier. We are looking forward to the start of the project!” 

And finally, Professor Birgit Willinger said: “Starting this project marks a major step forward in our efforts to improve sepsis diagnosis. Cellectric’s electrodynamic cell manipulation technology offers the potential to transform our clinical processes and save numerous lives.” 

About Cellectric 

Founded in 2021 as a spin- off from the Austrian Institute of Technology, Cellectric has developed a new way of manipulating cell-containing media using state-of-the-art dielectric materials to induce highly targeted electrodynamic effects, which allows for the selective permeabilization or destruction of specific target cells in a complex sample.   

Cellectric is initially looking to apply its technology in sepsis and sepsis-adjacent indications, where its platform can be used to rapidly isolate and identify bacteria, hastening the pace at which diagnoses can be made. Beyond these initial showcase indications, the company plans to apply its platform to the isolation of leukocytes from human whole blood, from which a plethora of advanced therapy-related steps can be improved and simplified.  

Recently, Cellectric won a slew of prizes at this year’s DeepTechMomentum in Berlin. Pipping over 170 companies to become of the seven Pitch Competition winners, Cellectric was also awarded a further three accelerator prizes at the event. 

About FFG 

The Österreichische Forschungsförderungsgesellschaft (FFG for short) is Austria’s national funding agency for industrial research and development. The agency’s current life sciences program is scheduled to run from now until 2026, and will award a total of €45m to Austrian life sciences companies in a bid to improve Austria’s reputation as a location for pioneering research and for conducting clinical trials. 

About MedUni Vienna 

MedUni Vienna is one of the world’s oldest medical schools, having been founded in 1365 by the then Duke of Austria, Rudolf IV. In the time since, it has grown to become not only an internationally recognized center of medical research, but also the source of Vienna General Hospital’s staff – it trains almost around 700 doctors each year. 

Contact Cellectric

office(at)cellectric.com

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