Samplix: A fast-growing biotech company requires adaptable patent advisors

The biotech company Samplix has developed a technology that looks for changes in DNA, and the company´s rapid but also broad development has benefited from the collaboration with Guardian IP Consulting’s extensive patent advisory team.

When unintentional changes are found in the genes of cells or errors occur in our gene analyses, it is often due to unforeseen interactions between DNA molecules, e.g., during the handling of the samples. In 2012, two former PhD students at DTU, Marie Mikkelsen and Thomas Kvist, embraced this challenge and their work has since developed into the company Samplix, which today has more than 20 employees.

Samplix develops instruments that, through microscopic droplets, can screen and characterize millions of cells and, for example, isolate relevant cell clones or rare parts of DNA in a short period of time, thus selecting an area to see if there is a change or error in the analysis. In other words, the company is able to find a needle in a haystack because everything takes place at the micro level.

The company collaborates with both researchers and pharma companies and operates within an area that has great attention and increasing competition.

– We work in an area in growth where more competitors are appearing and therefore, we must protect what we invent. The earlier you are in developing a technology, the greater the possibility of getting a patent that covers a wide range.

Søren Morgenthaler Echwald
VP of IPR at Samplix

At Guardian IP Consulting, European Patent Attorney and Partner Verena Simpson agrees:

– There are some big players in terms of DNA sequencing around the world, including China. Samplix has created a niche in the market, but the company could have quickly been overrun by competitors if it did not focus on patent protection.

The shift from startup to growing business entails new requirements for patent counselling

Verena Simpson has worked with Samplix since before the company was formed and this steadiness is important for Samplix, who enjoys working with a consultant who has been involved in its business for a long time and who understands the company’s technology and commercial aspect.

 – The only way we can get the right protection is by Guardian understanding both the technology and our business. We have worked a lot with freedom-to-operate and in this process, it is important to get answers on different scenarios, patent-wise and commercially, says Søren Morgenthaler Echwald and continues:

– We have grown from a startup to a more mature organization. Previously, Guardian handled everything patent-related, but now we also do some things ourselves. We appreciate this flexibility, as it is important to have a business partner that you can grow with.

The patent consultants at Guardian IP Consulting stay up to date on the latest developments and knowledge in complex technology, such as molecular biotechnology, which also includes machines and associated technology for performing the molecular biological processes. This means that Guardian, as a patent office, can cover the various technical areas that its customers need.

– When a company like Samplix grows, the development becomes more complex along the way, and therefore it needs more patent consultants, e.g., one who specializes in device development, one who specializes in chemical substances, and one who has an in-depth understanding of molecular biology. Just as the company needs to evolve, its patent office must also bring together a group that can cover the various technical areas – Guardian has ensured this by expanding our team that handles Samplix ‘cases to include European Patent Attorney and Partner Henrik Bagger and Patent Consultant Annette Sørensen. We must be able to sense the development of our customers and develop our services so that they meet their needs, Verena Simpson concludes.

Read more: Do you need a patent strategy?

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