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1. WO2020136234 - DEVICE AND METHOD FOR HANDLING A PARTICLE SUSPENSION

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[ EN ]

CLAIMS

1. Device for handling a particle suspension, in particular a cell suspension, comprising:

i. at least one channel (1) for flowing the particle suspension, wherein the channel has an average cross-section comprised between 0.1 mm2 and 9 mm2 and a standard hydraulic resistance of less than 1013 Pa.s/m3, wherein at least a portion of the channel (1) representing half of the length of the channel is compacted in such a way that the largest distance between two points of the volume occupied by the portion of the channel is less than half of the total length of the channel;

ii. a pumping unit (61) configured to move a driving fluid for driving the particle suspension in the channel (1), wherein the driving fluid is separated from the particle suspension by an interface (2);

iii. control means for controlling the pumping unit (61) as a function of the position of the interface (2) along the channel (1), the position of the interface (2) being monitored and/or, in the case of an incompressible driving fluid, determined from the volume of the driving fluid injected in the channel (1) by the pumping unit (61).

2. Device according to claim 1, wherein the driving fluid is compressible, preferably driving fluid is a gas.

3. Device according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the interface (2) between the driving fluid and the particle suspension is formed by a contact surface between the driving fluid and the particle suspension, the inlet of the channel (1) being connected to a filter having a pore diameter less than or equal to 1 pm, preferably less than or equal to 0.5 pm, more preferably less than or equal to 0.2 pm.

4. Device according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the device comprises a fluid driven gasket (22) in the channel (1), in such a way that the interface (2) between the driving fluid and the particle suspension is formed by the fluid driven gasket (22).

5. Device according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the device comprises calibrated volumetric graduations along the channel (1) establishing a relationship between a position along the channel (1) and a displaced volume of the particle suspension.

6. Device according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the channel (1) is transparent or translucent.

7. Device according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein, over at least 10% of its length, the channel (1) is curved with a radius of curvature comprised between 2 mm and 50 mm.

8 Device according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the channel (1) is configured to sustain a pressurization with water of at least 0.5 bars above the ambient pressure without breakage and with a leak or permeation flow of the channel inferior to 60 pg/min per mL of the total channel volume filled with water.

9 Device according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein one end of the channel (1) is connected to the pumping unit (61), and the pumping unit (61) is capable of creating a pressure variation of at least 0.5 bar.

10 Device according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the channel (1) is placed within a fluid-tight container filled with a high thermal inertia fluid, such as water, or the channel (1) is contained within a layer of thermally insulating material.

11 Device according to any one of the preceding claims, comprising at least two channels (1) connected to a manifold (41) at their outlets.

12 Method for handling a particle suspension, in particular a cell suspension, comprising flowing the particle suspension in or out of at least one channel (1) by means of a driving fluid for driving the particle suspension in the channel, wherein the driving fluid is separated from the particle suspension by an interface (2), wherein the channel (1) has an average cross-section comprised between 0.1 mm2 and 9 mm2 and a standard hydraulic resistance of less than 1013 Pa. s/m3, and at least a portion of the channel (1) representing half of the length of the channel is

compacted in such a way that the largest distance between two points of the volume occupied by the portion of the channel is less than half of the total length of the channel, the method comprising moving the driving fluid by means of a pumping unit (61) and controlling the pumping unit as a function of the position of the interface (2) along the channel (1), the position of the interface (2) being monitored and/or, in the case of an incompressible driving fluid, determined from the volume of the driving fluid injected in the channel (1) by the pumping unit (61).

13. Method according to claim 12, wherein the driving fluid is compressible, preferably driving fluid is a gas.

14. Method according to claim 12 or 13, wherein the flow rate for flowing the particle suspension in or out of the channel (1) is, for at least one period of one second, greater than Kq * S3/2 mL/s, where Kq is equal to 1/3 mL/s/mm3 and S is the average cross section of the channel expressed in mm2.

15. Method according to any one of claims 12 to 14, wherein the step of flowing the particle suspension in or out of the channel (1) is carried out by applying pulses of flow in opposite directions in the channel, each pulse having a duration of at least one second and a flow rate greater than Kq * S3/2 mL/s, where Kq is equal to 1/3 mL/s/mm3 and S is the channel average cross section expressed in mm2.

16. Method according to any one of claims 12 to 15, wherein position of the interface (2) along the channel (1) is monitored visually.

17. Method according to any one of claims 12 to 15, wherein position of the interface (2) along the channel (1) is monitored by means of a tracking system (62).