A little over a year ago, BioCrystal of Westerville, Ohio, introduced the futuristically designed OptiCell™ for tissue culture.1 The 100-cm2 growth area of each OptiCell (33% more than a T-75 flask) requires only 10 ml of growth medium. Building on this invention, BioCrystal developed a fully automated Robotic Cell Culture System (RC2S) capable of processing 402 OptiCells from inoculation to harvest with almost no human intervention. "Our focus is on growing anchorage-dependent cells," says Jeff Bergen, CEO. "Most pharmaceutical companies want to be able to harvest up to one billion cells per day on consecutive days for a week at a time for further processing;" continues Bergen. "Our RC2S system will enable that at reasonable cost." The current estimated price is about $400,000 (US).

Tools for bulk cell culture currently include stir-tank ($150,000-$200,000) and cell-cube ($50,000-$100,000) bioreactors, roller bottles, and hollow-fiber systems. "A...

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