The Discovery Fund recently made its second investment in a new university spin-out that is developing water droplets that serve as miniature test tubes.

The Fund has made a seed investment in Sphere Fluidics, which was formed earlier this month by Profs Chris Abell and Wilhelm Huck of Cambridge University’s Department of Chemistry.

The company aims to commercialise the picolitre droplet technology it has developed, which enables researchers to carry out experiments in small water droplets separated from each other in a microfluidic channel.

The technology has potential uses across a variety of fields, including drug discovery and algal-biofuel development. The platform is an alternative to existing techniques, offering greater control and automation, and improved efficiency.

Dr Frank Craig has been recruited as chief executive officer and the investment from the Discovery Fund will support the new company as it searches for its first customers and additional funding, with the objective of being self sustaining within 12 months.

The Discovery Fund is one of three seed funds managed by Cambridge Enterprise, the university’s commercialisation office.

Launched in 2008 as part of the university’s 800th Anniversary Campaign, the Discovery Fund provides proof-of-concept, prelicence, pre-seed and seed investments to new ideas with commercial value arising from university research.