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July Edition 2021

Michiel van Alst, IamFluidics BV CEO: ‘We leverage innovative production processes to engineer superb, sustainable, and appealing products based on high-quality microparticles’

Michiel van Alst, IamFluidics BV CEO: ‘We leverage innovative production processes to engineer superb, sustainable, and appealing products based on high-quality microparticles’

Droplet microfluidics is well-known for offering exquisite control over the flows of various fluids at the microscale. This allows us to precisely fabricate advanced microparticles with tunable compositions and structures. By combining these remarkable features with proper fabrication methods and materials, we can achieve high efficiency and direct encapsulation of actives present in the microparticles whose functionalities and features can be controlled. In recent times microparticles have gained immense traction and have received interest from various biomedical applications like bioimaging, targeted drug delivery, and biosensors. Disciplines like biology, physics, chemistry, health sciences, engineering, and material science are providing accumulated knowledge regarding microparticles. Even though it has a vast amount of submissions in electronics, medicine, and biology, microparticles are now primarily being used to revolutionize the healthcare segment.

Globally, there are various firms specializing in microparticles and their application, but IamFluidics BV stands from the rest. IamFluidics BV uniquely enables the high-throughput production of uniform microparticles. Its proprietary and disruptive platform technology is up to 1000x faster than conventional droplet microfluidics. IamFluidics BV is able to translate microfluidics-based processes to industrial production scales and ultimately realize better products using affordable, sustainable, and high-quality microparticles. We had a conversation with Michiel van Alst, CEO of IamFluidics BV, to know more about the company. Here are a few excerpts of the interview:

Q. What is IamFluidics passion? Where does it currently stand in the market?

At IamFluidics we are passionate about engineering high-quality microparticles to create disruptive solutions that improve life quality. We focus on technological innovations in microfluidics and materials for life science, pharmaceutical, and biomedical products. We care about learning continuously, innovating through science, contributing to life quality, creating a great place to work, and providing impactful, scalable, and sustainable solutions. We continuously seek new opportunities to revolutionize the world of microparticles. Are you looking for a new formulation? Then you are invited to meet our team of talented, skilled, and interdisciplinary scientists. Together, we will engineer the optimal microparticle. Conventional chip-based microfluidics technologies can produce high-quality microparticles, but are too slow for industrial applications. Our proprietary and disruptive microencapsulation process is 1000x faster than conventional droplet microfluidics, while offering similar precision and versatility. This enables translation of microfluidics-based processes to industrial production scales and ultimately realize better products using affordable high-quality microparticles.

Q. Tell us the story behind the inventors starting the company.

Born out of frustration. During his PhD, our CTO and co-founder Dr. Tom Kamperman focused on production of high-quality microparticles for biomedical engineering applications. Quality and performance of the resulting microparticles was very good, however production was slow, time-consuming and labor intensive. By combining droplet microfluidics with the expertise in fluid physics of our CSO and co-founder Dr. Claas Willem Visse, the team succeeded in high-throughput production of uniform droplets and microparticles at production rates that were clinically and industrially competitive as compared to conventional chip-based microfluidics. They literally removed the boundaries of chip-based microfluidics by removing the chip and manufacturing particles “in-air”, and thus In-Air MicroFluidics was born.

Q. Why is SenSphere® developed? How is it useful?

IamFluidics developed SenSphere®: a hydrogel bead platform technology that provides excellent control over the sense and function of cosmetics and personal care products. The appearance, feel, and function of cosmetic products determine the customer’s experience. Human skin can clearly sense the difference between crèmes based on 50 µm beads (perceived as light) and 100 µm beads (perceived as rich). Tightly controlling the size of microbeads is therefore essential to steer the experience of cosmetic users. SenSphere® microbeads are produced by a proprietary micromanufacturing process resulting in products with a very narrow size distribution enabling extraordinary engineering of skin sensation and visual appearance. Besides size, the skin is very perceptible to stickiness and stiffness. To this end, SenSphere® microbeads can be further tailored to perfectly match the customer’s desires. SenSphere® microbeads are made of brown algae extract that naturally occurs in the sea. Our hydrogel microbeads are therefore 100% plastic-free and fully degradable in seawater.

Q. Detail us about PluriLife development and uses.

Excellent control over the quality of microparticles is a prerequisite for Life Science and Biomedical applications. PluriLife technology has originally been developed for the encapsulation of stem cells, and thus perfectly conforms the unique needs to serve life science and biomedical applications. The PluriLife brand focuses on high-quality microgels for the biomedical and life science markets. Hydrogel microbeads can be tuned towards numerous applications such as embolization, (stem) cell culture, protein purification, or injectable dermal fillers. At IamFluidics, we combine our expertise in hydrogel technology with advanced proprietary processing techniques which enables us to engineer turn-key product concepts and scalable solutions the life science and biomedical markets. Uses:

  • Chromatography (affinity and size exclusion)

  • Pull-down / purification assays (e.g. for proteins or nucleic acids)

  • Crowding of 2D cell cultures to mimic 3D environments

  • (Embedded) 3D printing

  • Spacers or fillers

Q. What is your contribution to pharmaceutical industry?

Our ApiBead will revolutionize the pharmaceutical industry. Current issues are related to the efficacy of API’s, its side-effects and resulting non-adherence. ApiBead generates sustained release of all types of API’s ranging from hours, days to months. Low development cost, the flexible process as well as the high-yield and high-quality encapsulation process are a perfect match to that end. The process itself has various benefits over existing technologies such as an emulsion-free particle formation process. A high control over particle size, distribution and release kinetics.

Q. What are your offerings?

IamFluidics offers product formulation, development and (small-scale) production of microparticles for applications in amongst others Life Sciences & Biomedical and Pharmaceutical (e.g. sustained and controlled drug delivery) applications. Our revolutionary in-air microfluidics technology enables production of uniform, monodisperse and high-quality microparticles at commercial relevant volumes and pricing.

Meet the leader behind the success of IamFluidics BV

Michiel van Alst is the CEO of IamFluidics BV. Michiel is a seasoned manager with approximately 20 years of corporate industry experience. He worked at Corbion / Purac Biomaterials for more than 16 years involved in the development and sales of resorbable PLGA-based polymers used as excipients in controlled and sustained drug delivery applications. He held various management positions and gained experience in R&D, IP strategy, technical marketing & sales, and new business development. Michiel holds a master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Eindhoven and is a Registered Polymer Scientist at the Polymer Technology Netherlands foundation.

“Tuning the injectability and release properties of microparticles starts with controlling their exact size, shape, and surface area. IamFluidics’ high-yield and high-quality microencapsulation processes are a perfect match to this end.”

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