Micropore Technologies collaboration with Labman

Micropore Technologies, an engineering service turned long-term collaboration driving for innovation in vaccine development.
12 min read
Featuring comments from
Dai HaywardCEO, Micropore Technologies
Man wearing white lab coat operating Pathfinder
Bioprocessing workflows are being forced to accommodate the current market demands of accelerating drug discovery and innovative research into vaccine formulation. Micropore Technologies developed an innovative membrane mixing device, the AXFTM, but they needed to turn to automation to integrate their technology into an effective benchtop system.
Micropore Technologies reached out to Labman to develop the PathfinderTM. An entirely bespoke automated DOE sample formulation device that carries out cGMP standard lipid encapsulation in a coherent crossflow system.
From the offset Micropore’s extensive knowledge and innovative thinking worked in harmony with our engineering skill set and ability to provide solutions to complex problems. The ongoing success of our work with Micropore Technologies has resulted in the development of multiple different systems that support initial vaccine formulation all the way to GMP regulated manufacturing. This had meant Micropore are providing their clients with high performing, more cost-effective and increasingly intuitive systems that is redefining the possibilities in vaccine formulation.

Micropore Technologies had previously developed the AXFTM mixer, and their customers had used it successfully for a number and had offered constructive feedback on potential improvements. The stand-alone AXF-mini was not as sparing and as flexible for formulation development as would be ideal.

The team turned to Labman to develop a bespoke system that would automate the process in one compact module. Whilst also adding extra functionality to minimise the amount of RNA used, this module would offer a degree of formulation flexibility, and ensure optimal encapsulation efficiency while retaining the benefits of the stand-alone instrument.

Our mechanical, electrical and software engineers worked closely with the team at Micropore Technologies to ensure that we learnt everything we could about the process they wanted to automate, and that it would elevate their client’s workflow, instead of hindering formulation in any way. The result was the PathfinderTM.

AXF Pathfinder shown on a black table, with operating software on the screen next to the system
AXF Pathfinder

The success and strength of this ongoing collaboration is evident not only in the range of instruments developed and the range of formulations they support, but the elegance of the automation technology integrated into such a robust and compact bench-top device whilst offering such an advanced scope of flexibility.

"The sheer flexibility of the system to morph to a bespoke product to solve a particular need is outstanding."
Pete DavisApplications Scientist, ATA scientific

It was evident from the initial designs of the system that automating such hardware was significantly more complex than any standard mechanical controls. This performance requirement was a unique yet exciting challenge for our engineers. The skills and innovative thinking our software engineers provided in this project were paramount. They developed a fully bespoke control system that enabled the PathfinderTM to be fully automated whilst retaining the quality of the samples.

“You were able to meet a very demanding set of performance requirements”. Dai Hayward, CEO

The success of this ongoing project and development of the PathfinderTM product line has been down to the consortium of skills everyone involved brought forward and how seamlessly they worked together. The relationship we have built with Micropore reflects the way in which our engineers value and nurture the relationship they have with our customers. We are not just a third-party engineering service; we are a team of innovators looking to find you the best automation solution possible.

"Labman have the integrated skill set of Electronic Engineers and Mechanical Engineers, as well as the ability to do software development to fit our needs. We saw excellent collaboration between the different skill sets within Labman that allowed us to feel that our project was in good hands. The overall sense of collaboration, the sense of partnership has been exceptional."
Dai HaywardCEO, Micropore Technologies
AXF Pathfinder