UPM Spinoff “Innofluence” creating value from LIFT Technology
Innofluence S.L. (www.innofluence.es) – is a spin-off of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) incorporated in the second semester of 2015 with the aim of creating value commercializing systems for advanced 3D bioprinting techniques based in laser technology and with key applications in tissue engineering, cell sorting and drug delivery markets. Innofluence was founded by researchers from the Centro Laser of Universidad Politécnica de Madrid in collaboration with laser engineers with a wide experience in the optoelectronic market.
The business idea was born in the research group Laser Based Advanced Manufacturing of the Centro Láser UPM. This group participates in the FP7 APPOLO project, developing new metallization techniques for the photovoltaic and flexible electronics industry based in Laser Induced Forward Transfer Techniques (LIFT) – one of the project experiments.
This research activity, together with the major goal of the APPOLO project to fill the gap between equipment suppliers and end users in new laser applications using standardized protocols established by research labs, gave rise to the idea of creating a spin-off, whose main target is the equipment development for LIFT applications in biotechnology.
The company will take advantage of the APPOLO project philosophy of validating new applications through specific assessment procedures.
Even though the activities of the company are not directly related with the experiments of the APPOLO Project, Innofluence is considered a company born under the general vision of laser technology for industry offered by APPOLO.
The goal of the company is to create value from the diverse expertise of the promoters group in the “Laser Induced Forward Transfer” (LIFT) technique in order to commercialize lasers systems specifically designed to produce 3D bioprinting processes, especially high precision cell sorting. In addition, and taking into account that LIFT techniques can deal with almost any material of interest that can be included in a liquid matrix, tissue engineering and drug delivery are two additional interesting application fields.
In fact, the main advantage of LIFT 3D bioprinting is the outstanding resolution of the technique (the technique allows the printing of volumes in the order of picoliters, with spatial resolution in the order of micrometer, instead of the standard nanoliter resolution of ink printing). This is a unique and ground-breaking feature, giving the technique an additional market opportunity due to its potential complementarity with other techniques for tissue engineering such as ink-jet or extrusion printing.
The Innofluence business deployment strategy in a very preliminary phase is to penetrate into the market as an advanced supplier for specialized equipment for research labs focussed on final applications development.
Most of the research labs working in this field are interested in laser based bioprinting techniques, but the highly specialized knowledge inherent to these processes is a fundamental barrier for implementing the systems in laboratories with an inadequate background in laser technology.
Innofluence will use its experience, and the assessment experience developed during the APPOLO project, to offer a highly customizable laboratory system in which most of the parts needed for a successful development of the process, e.g., laser control and laser-matter knowledge, will be integrate as software and hardware into the equipment, offering a highly friendly environment for working.
Currently the company is actively looking for partnership and participation in different national and European projects, and has started its commercial activity offering services in process engineering, process parameterization, and service and support in the field of laser technology for bio applications.