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Cell culture is a labor intensive task plagued by inconsistency due to variations in instrumentation and experimental protocols. At Pharyx, we are developing systems to miniaturize and automate even the most complicated cell culture processes in an effort to standardize and simplify cell culture, eliminating variability between experiments and across scales.

Through microfluidic technology and integration, we have miniaturized large scale bioreactors to the milliliter scale, enabling control and parallelization, greatly reducing the labor and space that such systems require with traditional culturing systems. Such integration and parallelization enables experiments which would otherwise seem intractable, such as full metabolic analysis of organisms using parallelized continuous culture.

Continuous culture is typically performed in stirred tank bioreactors ranging from 100 ml to liters in scale. As typical experiments run for tens to hundreds of cell doubling cycles, typical continuous culture campaigns require tens to hundreds of liters of sterile media. Such experiments are therefore labor intensive, and can be considered tedious and nearly intractable tasks.

At Pharyx, by reducing the reactor volume to 1 milliliter, the same experiments can now be performed with minimal media volume, faster setup times (minutes instead of hours), less space, and in parallel with minimal overhead.