Behind every inventor and invention, there is a story that has an inspiring edge to it. The tale of IamFluidics began when Tom Kamperman, PhD was working on the development of microfluidic systems for life science applications—in particular, microencapsulation—at the University of Twente (UT). During his research on single-cell encapsulation for stem cell therapies, Kamperman realised that the microfluidic device his team was using to encapsulate, incubate, and manipulate individual cells was too slow for most clinical and industrial applications. It would typically take us hours to produce the microparticles. Determined to develop a faster approach to microparticle production, Kamperman collaborated with his colleague, Claas Willem Visser, a skilled applied physicist. Together, the duo researched and developed a new technology—in-air microfluidics (IAMF)—that manipulates and combines fluids in the air instead of on a chip to produce new microparticles of different materials at a production rate that is up to 1,000 times faster than that of chip-based technologies.
In 2018, intending to commercialise their technology, Kamperman and Visser co-founded IamFluidics as a UT spin-off to revolutionise microparticle production. Today, the firm is recognised as one of the firsts to provide scalable microfluidics and enable personal care, life science, pharmaceutical, and biomedical markets to produce uniform micromaterials. “We are passionate about engineering high-quality microparticles to create disruptive solutions that improve the quality of life. We take pride in being able to provide the technology that combines microfluidics precision with industrial throughput,” says Kamperman, co-founder and CTO, IamFluidics.
We are passionate about engineering high-quality microparticles to create disruptive solutions that improve the quality of life
Many companies are nowadays looking for industrial-scale production processes that can provide monodisperse microparticles with controlled shape, size, and composition. This is precisely what IamFluidics’s IAMF technology accomplishes. At the core of the novel technology is a technique similar to that of inkjet printing. By combining minuscule fluid jets in the air, IAMF produces microparticles of different materials and with controlled shape up to a thousand times faster while maintaining the resolution of conventional microfluidics.
With its IAMF technology, IamFluidics is, for example, developing high-quality microparticles for cell culture and cell therapies. The microcarriers currently used to culture cells are static and stiff, which is not compatible with the expansion of most cell types. Biotech firms are seeking a more flexible and tailored microcarrier that provides optimal culture conditions for a variety of cells. IamFluidics microcarriers will be optimized for culturing multiple types of stem cells, which are currently the most promising ones for cell-based therapies.
To get a better understanding of the benefits of IamFluidics’ technology, Kamperman shares a client success story. Here, the client—specialising in the characterisation of microparticle stiffness—needed biomaterials in the form of microbeads to characterise their measuring system. With IAMF technology, IamFluidics helped the client turn the biomaterial into large amounts of uniform microparticles with specific stiffness. Consequently, they were able to test the material properties of biomaterials better and characterise them accordingly.
“With its high production capacity and precision, our technology not only makes it economically feasible for businesses to use microparticles in several applications but also opens up new market possibilities,” informs Kamperman. Currently, IamFluidics is ramping up its business by expanding the team, recruiting senior-level executives, and preparing itself for better industrial production. On the geographical front, while IamFluidics is presently focused on the European market (Western Europe), the company has plans to move towards the U.S. market. “Our disruptive technology has a lot of potential in the biomedical and the life sciences space, which are still in development. We plan to start in the cosmetics market and work our way forward. We are excited to see what the future holds for us,” concludes Kamperman.