Bionomous is a Swiss startup born at the EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne). Founded in November 2019 by Ana Hernando Ariza and Frank Bonnet, it aims at building devices to automate the visual inspection, sorting, and dispensing of small biological entities. The company has developed the ‘EggSorter’ which has been designed to handle zebrafish eggs and similar organisms. This innovation is particularly suited for research in the Life Science industry to aid in finding new treatments, perform toxicology tests or to better understand the biology and genetics of living organisms.
The EggSorter allows to standardize all processes and to increase research throughout and is already being used in some laboratories in Switzerland and Europe.
The idea of the EggSorter started during the European project ASSISIbf, during which a team of robotic engineers from the EPFL were collaborating with a team of biologists in Paris to produce a robotic fish in order to study the behavior of adult zebrafish. In the course of this collaboration, Bionomous’ founders identified that is was laborious for researchers to screen and sort the zebrafish eggs for breeding purposes: it was time-consuming, prone to errors and non-standardized among laboratories. For this reason,they decided to develop, aside from the ASSISIbf project, a robotic device to process these eggs automatically to release researcher’s valuable time.
This technology was further developed and patented by the team of engineers from the EPFL, using the support of various national and European grants. The team was granted with a FET Innovation Launchpad project (EggSorter) to further study the application of the technology and the market potential. This FET Innovation Launchpad project contributed by strengthening the business case and exploring other market opportunities. Following this project, the company Bionomous was founded in 2019, and a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) of the product was released in 2020.
Bionomous’ team is currently validating the MVP with early adopters in Switzerland and in Europe, and has recently closed a seed funding round of €1.2M to finance the industrialisation phase of the product towards the commercialisation that is planned for the fourth quarter of 2022.