Genial Genetics

Genial Genetics is focused on delivering innovation in automation and software to genetics and pathology professionals.

Runcorn-based Genial Genetic Solutions Ltd (GGS) has developed a laboratory device which will make the process of testing on human cells quicker, cheaper and more successful.

The Multiprep Cellsprint Cytogenic Suspension Culture Harvester, or CellSprint, scooped GGS the top accolade at the 2006 Merseyside Innovation Awards for its ‘ability to save lives, its strong commercial potential and its outstanding degree of innovation.’

The winning device, which will be used in clinics and hospitals across the world, can make the process of testing quicker, cheaper and more importantly much more accurate, cutting the high failure rate involved in generating genetic cultures. According to GGS managing director, Lawrence Crees, the device is years ahead of its time.

“The system we have developed is probably three to four years ahead of its time and will change the face of genetic testing. Tests on human cells, like diagnosing problematic cancers like leukaemia, remain a slow, laborious and costly exercise. In England alone, around 2,000 samples a year fail.

Genial’s method of harvesting genetic cultures can boost the success rate of procedures and free up scientist’s time to perform more important tasks,” he said.

The automated CellSprint system was designed to relieve suspension culture harvesting workload pressures in busy cytogenetics laboratories.

The Cheshire company’s “Eureka moment” as Lawrence describes it, began two years ago. Costing £100,000, and the result of two years and £500,000 in development, the device evoked enthusiasm when it was recently launched to the trade worldwide. The first orders have already been taken, and there is interest from testing centres in the UK, Europe, the US and even Sri Lanka.

Lawrence, 39, said: “We launched an early prototype of the machine at the conference of the European Society of Human Genetics and the Association of Genetic Technologists in June. As a result of this, the US market alone ordered 600 units. We are now set to go into production and are targeting the main sectors in UK including NHS hospital testing centres. The US market, which is made up of both public and private clinics, offers great potential. The device is set to have a major impact on the way that cytogenetic testing is carried out.”

With a Masters in Anatomy & Cell Biology from Sheffield University, Lawrence established the knowledge-based company in 2001. Its success has led the business to double year on year and GGS is now entirely self and organically funded. At the cutting edge of technology, it is hard to believe that it all began in his back bedroom.

The company has grown substantially and currently has 15 people focused on various elements of the business. It has now delivered its products to more than 50 countries world-wide and has ambitious plans to expand on this.

Innovation Awards

Winning the Merseyside Innovation Awards – sponsored by RTC North – has helped raise the profile of the company, according to Lawrence. He said:

“Winning such a prestigious event has given us great recognition. It’s nice to know that we are not in isolation and people are interested in what we are doing and achieving. It has helped us greatly in terms of credibility.”

How does it work?

CellSprint performs automated, high throughput processing tasks on blood and bone marrow samples which are destined for subsequent cytogenetic whole chromosome

The technology involves the use of embedded optimised laser densitometry to quantify and measure the quality of the sample it passes through the system.

Accurate cytogenetic analysis is becoming increasingly important as part the process of selecting the correct cancer therapy from a number of new and clinically very efficacious treatments.

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