Supporting the advancement of nanotechnology

MICA Biosystems, a Staffordshire medical technology SME run and led by Professor Alicia El Haj, recently approached Keele University’s Business Bridge* programme for support regarding their Bioreactor and bioassay.

MICA, which stands for Magnetic Ion Channel Activity, aims to advance magnetic nanotechnology for use in regenerative medicine and drug discovery. Their novel patented technology utilises magnetic nanoparticles to control cell behaviour inside and outside the body. Using their custom designed and built technology, they have established a dynamic drug screening assay, known as DYNASCREEN, which modifies current drug screening assays to create an environment more closely aligned with the body to improve the accuracy of these tests.

Another MICA product, their Magnetic Force Bioreactor, allows scientists to easily incorporate remote cell activation strategies into the development of stem cell therapies and drug screening applications. This is achieved by using the magnets to create tiny forces on the surface of the cells, creating an environment much more similar to that found in the body than can be achieved using traditional static systems.

Dr Hareklea Markides, Research Scientist at MICA Biosystems, said: “We are the stage now that we would like to commercialise these products, and in doing so we require robust packaging and concise information packages to allow scientists to perform the assay easily and accurately every time.

“Through Business Bridge’s Innovation Voucher scheme, we were able to call upon the expertise of Healthcare Print and Packaging to help us develop the exterior cases and user guides for our DYNASCREEN assay and produce a small number of bioreactor protective packages for use in future orders. The support of the programme made the whole process very easy and has led to us recently launching two new products to market.”

ERDF and UHNM logos Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent businesses can benefit from a range of specialist support and funding, more details of which are available through Keele University’s Business Gateway on 01782 733001 or by emailing

*The Business Bridge project (ref: 32R16P00713) is part-funded from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the England 2014 to 2020 European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) Growth Programme.