Guru Singh, Director of Scientific Content, recently spoke with Dr. Lisa Stehno-Bittel, President and Founder of Likarda LLC, an exciting biotech service company on the Science Exchange network.
GS: Nice to meet you, Lisa! Why do clients come to Likarda?
LSB: Likarda is the company you come to when your scientific questions require complex solutions. Our scientists work to create and validate novel assays on a number of different projects, in a timely and efficient manner.
GS: What capabilities does Likarda have that differentiate the company from other service providers and cell-based assay experts?
LSB: We have a strong portfolio of platform technologies that allow us to conduct assays that just aren’t available at other companies. First of all, we have a series of patents around generating, in a high throughput manner, 3D spheroids for drug screening, efficacy testing, toxicity testing, etc. Our Likarda CC Microplate is made using standard plate formats, but in each well of a 384-well plate are 150 different single microwells, in each of which we can grow a different spheroid. That way, we can reduce the number of replicates, saving time and money for the client.
GS: There are many different plate-based models on the market — organoplates, microfluidic chips, etc. — How do Likarda’s plates compare?
LSB: The difference is that Likarda’s plates are really made for a high throughput format and are ideal for complex experiments, for example, when you need to work with multi-cell-type 3D cultures, in an as natural environment as possible. Most of the time, we don’t use any sort of gel or matrix for the 3D cultures — the plates are low-adherence, so the cells stick to each other and not to the plate. This makes the plates easy to work with. We do have a patented hydrogel technology which allows us to make microencapsulated cells using biocompatible materials. We are the first to use these materials for microencapsulation. Microplates and hydrogel — these two technologies really set us apart.
GS: Very cool. How would you describe Likarda’s team?
LSB: All of our scientists have advanced Masters’ degrees in biology or physiology or PhD’s in physiology or bioengineering. We’re a relatively small team, so everyone is involved and gives input into these complex studies that we typically do.
GS: Your clients seem very diverse!
LSB: Yes! Our clients are in the pharmaceutical and nutraceutical industries, as well as food supplements and hygiene. We do work for multinational companies as well as smaller startups.
GS: How has Likarda grown over the years? What lies in the future?
LSB: We started Likarda 5 years ago with money from family and friends. Within 17 months, we were revenue-positive! We’re revenue-driven, and we’re working also on our own products — microplates, hydrogel, regenerative medicine therapies we’re getting ready to take to market.
GS: Can you talk about Likarda’s certifications?
LSB: We’re a woman-owned company, we have the capability to run GLP studies, and we can maintain GMP status for drug development projects, we have continual environmental monitoring.
GS: So, I take it, Likarda has had a successful experience being part of the Science Exchange network.
LSB: Definitely — Science Exchange has been wonderful to work with! With Science Exchange, you have a sourcing agent assigned to you from the very start. That person really does a good job of figuring out what the client needs, and matching them to the right CRO for their research.
Connect with the Likarda team to discuss your project today by visiting scienceexchange.com/labs/likarda-llc.