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Biopharmaceuticals, medical technology and nanomedicine

Discovery, characterisation and production of biopharmaceuticals have been an important research area at SINTEF for more than 25 years. Main focus has been development of microbial production processes. We have established numerous methods, technologies, assays and laboratories to support this activity. Medical technology and Nanomedicine is rapidly growing research areas in SINTEF, where we focus on development of nanoparticles tailored for drug delivery, biosensors, and new solutions for therapy and diagnostics.

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Discovery, characterisation and production of biopharmaceuticals have been an important research area at SINTEF for more than 25 years. Our state of the art laboratories tailored for early development of biopharmaceutical production processes are constantly being upgraded (Molecular biology, High throughput screening, analyses, fermentation). The main focus has been on microbial production of small bioactive molecules (antibiotics, anticancer) and therapeutic proteins.

Key competences, research areas and products

  • Discovery and prospecting for new products. SINTEF together with NTNU has since 2003 bioprospected for interesting microorganisms from the Trondheim fjord. Strain collections of marine actinomycete bacteria have been established and screened for production antimicrobial, antifungal and anticancer activity.
  • Development of efficient production strains and processes. Development of strains suitable for industrial production of bioactive compounds has been an important activity in numerous projects at SINTEF These projects are performed in cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, and often based on classical mutagenesis, selection and high throughput screening. Key competences include miniaturized cultivation of industrial microorganisms, development of screening and selection methods and development of production media and fermentation processes.
  • Genetic engineering, systems and synthetic biology are strategic important research areas in SINTEF. Development, establishment and use of these emerging technologies for development of synthetic "super hosts" for production of antibiotics and other bioactive small molecules are focused in several ongoing projects (SIP-FMG, InBioPharm, Systeract).
  • Characterisation of biopharmaceuticals. We have established a large toolbox of biological assays for quantification of the effects of active molecules, including high throughput assays for antimicrobial, antifungal, anti-biofilm formation and anticancer activity. The MS-analytical facility is used for identification, quantification and characterisation of products and by-products from our processes.

Contact persons: Håvard SlettaGeir Klinkenberg

Medical Technology

Medical Technology is any technology that may be employed for the safe and effective prevention, diagnosis and treatment of, and rehabilitation after, illness and disease. It encompasses a wide range of products used to diagnose, monitor or treat diseases or medical conditions. Such technologies are aimed at improving the quality of health care by enabling earlier diagnoses, less invasive treatments, and reductions in hospital stays and rehabilitation times. Medical technology is a strategic area at SINTEF.

Key competences, research areas and products
SINTEF develops products and services related to both welfare and medical technology in close collaboration with end-users, and conducts research into the following:

  • Nanomedicine for therapy and diagnostics
    Targeted drug delivery using nanoparticles, and nanoparticle-stabilized gas bubbles combined with ultrasound technology are key research areas.
  • In vitro diagnostics and biosensors
    BioCamera (extremely sensitive biosensor) and MicroPlumber (seamless silisium-polymer integration) are two example technologies within this area of research
  • Nano-bio characterization
    SINTEF has state-of-the-art analytical facilities uniquely suited for physical-chemical and cell-based (in vitro) characterization of nanoparticles and nano-biomaterials (NORTEM, NICE, high-throughput cell-based assays and MS-based analysis). At the same time, SINTEF has competence within the production and development of such materials.
  • Novel drugs and vaccines
    Research on novel drugs includes, among others, biopharmaceuticals, vaccines, antibiotics, antibodies and medical proteins. Isolation and characterization of bacteria from the sea (marine bioprospecting) is an important part of the search for novel drugs.
  • Biomaterials, cell-based therapy and regenerative medicine
    Norwegian research on marine biomaterials is internationally leading, and SINTEF has been a key contributor to this research area. Regenerative medicine and cell-based therapy are new strategic research areas at SINTEF, and will be implemented in collaboration with NTNU and leading stem cell research groups.
  • Implants, prostheses and devices, including biomechanics
    SINTEFs research in this area includes patient-specific simulation models of the heart to aid surgical planning (CardioSIM).

Our projects
Medical technology is a multidisciplinary research field requiring tight collaboration between different research areas. SINTEF has over the last years, through participation in national and international networks and projects, gained substantial competence within medical technology. Networks include Oslo Cancer Cluster, Oslo Medtech, European Technology Platform in Nanomedicine (ETPN), Controlled Release Society (CRS) and MF-3 / MF-4 (Microfluidics consortium). Projects within medical technology include both EU and ERA-NET projects, as well as projects funded by the Norwegian Research Council and National Health Authorities.

Relevant projects:

Contact personRuth Schmid-Baumberger

Nanomedicine is a rapidly growing research area at SINTEF. The use of nanoparticles represents a promising method for efficient drug delivery for various diseases. Nanoparticles with multiple functionalities, such as imaging and therapy as well as cell targeting, open new possibilities in the combination of diagnosis and therapy. SINTEF Industry has extensive experience in production and characterization of nanoparticles, as well as encapsulation of bioactive components in particles.

Key competences, research areas and products

  • Through participation in numerous projects within the nanomedicine field, SINTEF has developed expertise in encapsulation of both anti-cancer agents and antibiotics in polymeric and lipid nanoparticles for enhanced drug delivery.
  • SINTEF has state-of-the-art analytical facilities uniquely suited for characterization of nanoparticles and emulsions.
  • SINTEF has first-rate expertise and experience in cell-based screening and toxicology, cellular uptake of nanoparticles, and the employment of a wide variety of animal models (such cancer and inflammation) for in vivo studies of nanoparticles.
  • SINTEF has developed a unique multimodal, multifunctional drug delivery system consisting of gas microbubbles stabilized by nanoparticles to be used in ultrasound-mediated drug delivery and imaging. The platform makes it possible to deliver very high local concentrations of drugs to tumors using non-invasive focused ultrasound.

Our projects
We collaborate with leading international and national research groups consisting of scientists and medical doctors specialized within fields ranging from cancer research, immunology and imaging technology to material science, physics, ultrasound technology and analytical chemistry. Our ongoing projects in the field of nanomedicine are funded by The Norwegian Research Council, EU, The Norwegian Health Authorities and industry.

Relevant projects:

Contact person: Yrr Asbjørg Mørch