Company on the Spot: A leap in stem cell therapy production

13 June 2019

Scinus Cell Expansion

Company on the Spot written by Michiel Jannink – CEO at Scinus Cell Expansion B.V., Managing Director Demcon Medical Systems

Scinus Cell Expansion is all about a new and exhilarating technique for cell therapy production. Current cell expansion methods do not deliver up to par standards. A typical dose that is needed for mesenchymal stem cells, is based on two million cells/kg body weight. The required cells are obtained from donors or the patient self. However, initial cell numbers are extremely low. Therefore, these cell numbers need to be increased dramatically before they can be administered to the patient. Currently, the standard flask-based method is often used to improve cell numbers. Yet this culture is extremely inefficient. The reasoning behind this is the fact that flasks require heavy operator involvement and an expensive clean room infrastructure, while increasing the risk of contamination and operator related variability.

Scinus develops and markets systems that enable clinical scale cell 3D cultivation in a controlled environment. It contains a single use, expandable bioreactor bag that can be used to cultivate (adherent) cells (e.g. human mesenchymal stem cells) to clinically relevant numbers. Inside the bag, cells are grown on micro carriers.

What distinguishes our technology is its unique combination of the expandable bioreactor bag and the device’s ability to maintain a closed and controlled cell culture. Firstly, this minimises the risk of contamination. Secondly, the bioreactor bag’s design minimises shear forces. Lastly, it controls pH values and dissolves oxygen and monitors biomass continuously. As a result, it has the ability to create an optimised environment for cells to grow.

Another benefit of the Scinus Cell Expansion method is that it uses significantly less manpower in regard to the traditional 2D expansion in T-flasks. The state-of-art technology can be operated by one operator from cell inoculation until harvest. Furthermore, compared to the 2D expansion in T-flasks, the Scinus Cell Expansion method requires up to 60% less medium. Moreover, it replaces a lot of cell culture flasks per clinical production in a reproducible, controlled and efficient way. In conclusion, it provides a cost-effective alternative to 2D cell growth in tissue culture flasks or cell stacks.

Lastly, the Scinus Cell Expansion process is automatised and uses closed bioreactor technology. This reduces costs and improves quality of cell therapy products.

Our aim is to effectively treat patients by means of stem cell therapy. We aim to do this by contributing the tools needed to expand stem cells used in treatments. We deliver our products to hospitals who practice stem cell treatment as well as cell banks who cultivate stem cells. Currently, we not only market our system, but we also contribute to additional studies on stem cell therapy.

The particular field of study we work on at Scinus Cell Expansion is revolutionary and continues to develop. It is exciting and rewarding to be a part of it as it really contributes to socially relevant themes and brings health care to the next level. Naturally, developing this kind of innovations is combined with ups and downs. But within Scinus Cell Expansion there is a lot of expertise regarding cell expansion processes, process optimisation and bioreactor technology. We always kept in mind to cultivate clinically relevant numbers of cells in a cost-effective way.

Scinus Cell Expansion

Michiel Jannink studied Human Movement Sciences (RUG, Groningen) and Epidemiology (VU, Amsterdam). Working at Roessingh Research and Development (RRD), he obtained his PhD at the VU in 2004. He headed a research group at RRD focusing on patients with neurological diseases such as stroke, spinal cord injury and children with cerebral palsy. After two years as an Assistant Professor at the University of Twente (Laboratory of Biomechanical Engineering), Michiel in 2010 switched to his current place of employment at DEMCON. DEMCON develops and realises medical devices, IVD technology and is active in the biotech field. Since 2018, Michiel is also the CEO of Scinus Cell Expansion.

We want to thank Michiel Jannink for sharing his expertise regarding the Scinus Cell Expansion device with us. If you have any comments on Michiel Jannink’s story, or if you want to share your own story, please contact us via or +31 630076674.


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