The medtech start-up Bifrost Biolabs was formed in the summer of 2018 by a team of three who agreed to solve a problem they had come across in the lab: the black box of shake flasks. In March 2019, Bifrost Biolabs joined the Business Acceleration Academy program at BII to gain skills and insights into how to reach the market with their product.
CEO, Vilhelm Krarup Møller, explains how it all began:
Like most people, I have been frustrated by the fact that so much lab work must be done by hand and last year it led me to research the market of lab automation to find a solution. I found out that there are many options out there, but they often require software skills that most lab bench scientists like myself don’t have. That’s why we decided to develop a simple solution for one of the things you spend a lot of time doing in biotech: growing cells.
What does your product do?
We have created a novel sensor system for measuring cell growth in a fully automated, high throughput setup. Small scale cultivations are high throughput but hard to measure precisely. In large scale fermentations, all parameters need to be precisely balanced and controlled to ensure the highest yield of the product. By understanding the cultivation conditions in small scale, you can reduce the time spent on upscaling from microtiter plates to large scale fermenters. We transform the black box of small-scale fermentation into a white box of known parameters so to speak.
How did you go from idea to product?
We just started. We tried some things, failed and tried again. We had little idea of what we were doing at the time so we reached out to people with our ideas and asked if they would be interested in buying the product. The reply was: “No, not at all!”
So, we went back, worked on it and asked again and it slowly transformed into something viable. One day we came up with the design we have now and that was exactly what we needed.
Why did you apply for the BAA program?
We were already looking for an accelerator when we learned about BioInnovation Institute. It was very important for us to join an accelerator with a biotech focus and a program team that understands what we work with and it has absolutely served us well already. We also saw great value in being associated with the Novo Nordisk Foundation and the network around it.