BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--SQZ Biotech’s CellSqueeze platform has been selected by Scientific American as one of 10 game-changing innovations for its World Changing Ideas 2014 special feature. Now in its sixth year, the magazine chooses 10 technologies identified as the top scalable breakthroughs in science, technology and medicine. SQZ Biotech is commercializing CellSqueeze, an innovative platform that enables virtually any material to enter a cell with unprecedented efficiency through a gentle squeeze. It is an elegant new method to control cell behavior that offers exciting promise for studies of basic cell biology as well as enabling cell-based therapies previously only envisioned, using a microfluidic chip.
CellSqueeze technology was discovered by Dr. Armon Sharei in the labs of Dr. Klavs Jensen, Department Head, Warren K. Lewis Professor of Chemical Engineering, and Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, and Dr. Robert Langer, David H. Koch Institute Professor, both at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). SQZ Biotech has received an exclusive, worldwide license to CellSqueeze from MIT for any application.
“We are delighted that Scientific American chose CellSqueeze alongside other exciting ideas and technologies that will alter our lives,” said Dr. Sharei, co-founder and chairman. “It has been humbling to see a simple observation with the potential to address long-standing challenges in drug discovery and other clinical applications receive tremendous external recognition.”
“The microfluidics field has been moving towards complex architectures which are difficult to fabricate and control. Contrasting this shift, CellSqueeze uses a very simple design to achieve great biological significance,” said Dr. Langer, co-founder and director.
CellSqueeze can eliminate challenges of intracellular delivery with increased efficiency over established methods such as chemical and viral delivery or electroporation. SQZ Biotech uses CellSqueeze for next-generation drug discovery and target validation to enable more effective identification and development of therapeutic candidates, as well as adoptive cell therapies based on ex vivo engineering of patient-derived cells.
Dr. Jensen, co-founder and director, added, “Intracellular delivery has been a long-standing challenge. CellSqueeze represents a great advance with a huge potential for cell-based therapies.”
“We look forward to working with our partners to further develop and expand high-impact applications of CellSqueeze to improve the lives of patients around the world,” said Agustin Lopez Marquez, CEO of SQZ Biotech. “This recognition and our recent top prize from MassChallenge are evidence that we are successfully executing our strategy.”
Many diseases and disorders result from dysfunction at the cellular level; however, studying them has proven challenging as it is currently difficult to understand and manipulate cells’ internal biological mechanisms. SQZ Biotech’s CellSqueeze platform is a microfluidic chip that enables the delivery of virtually any material into almost any cell type, including primary human-derived cells, in order to address challenges with traditional intracellular delivery technologies. SQZ Biotech’s chips contain 75 parallel fluidic channels, each of which has at least one region where the channel diameter is smaller than the diameter of a cell. Cells flowing through these channels experience a “squeeze” as they travel through the narrow point. The mechanical stress opens temporary holes in the cell membrane, exposing the cytoplasm, which allows the cell to take up molecules in the surrounding environment. Cells repair themselves shortly thereafter. CellSqueeze technology has been published in several peer-reviewed publications, including the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, for its demonstrated potential in applications ranging from single molecule imaging to cell reprogramming. Patent applications describing the technology have been filed in over 20 countries.
About SQZ Biotech
SQZ Biotech is commercializing the CellSqueeze platform, which enables virtually any material to enter almost any cell of interest with a gentle squeeze. Through internal research programs and external partnerships, we are leading a revolution in scientists’ approach to disease research and clinical therapies. Our development programs are focused on next-generation drug discovery and target validation technologies that capitalize on our capabilities to enable more effective identification/development of therapeutic candidates, as well as adoptive cell therapies based on ex vivo engineering of patient-derived cells. More information is available at www.sqzbiotech.com.