Fighting disease through cell analysis

Flow cytometry is a powerful analytical tool used for identifying cellular characteristics on a cell-by-cell basis, up to tens of thousands of cells per second. To the average person, that’s: cells (cyto) are measured (metry) in a liquid (flow) such as blood.

The results of a flow experiment are generally used by researchers to measure the effectiveness of a certain therapy (e.g. for cancer), diagnosing certain conditions such as lymphomas and HIV, or detecting residual diseases after organ transplants by allowing individual cells to be checked for mutations and other concerns. 

Rapid growth in Amsterdam

Founded in Fremont, California, Cytek launched its European operations in Amsterdam in 2019, headed by Lars J.T. Droog. Despite a bumpy start due to COVID-19 - six months after opening their office doors, everyone began working from home - Droog says Cytek has seen strong growth.

Cytek Biosciences Amsterdam Lars JT DroogLars J.T. Droog, director EMEA operations

From its office at the Amsterdam Health and Technology Institute (AHTI), Cytek runs its support services for its European operations: customer service, finance, HR, IT, supply chain management as well as the training and repair centre. 

“We strive to be a full solutions provider, taking away any concern the client might have around the technology,” Droog says. “This is why we now also offer reagents [indicators that change colour to confirm the presence or absence of another chemical], we have GDP certified storage facilities (quality storage especially for medicines) with temperature control, and we hold stock to quickly meet demand. We’re constantly developing, most recently through collaboration with environmentally friendly packaging solutions.

The COVID-19 pandemic created opportunities for Cytek to think creatively about its services. While hospitals where Cytek usually installed its demo machines were off-limits (due to COVID-19 restrictions), Cytek instead put its system at the temporary disposal of research centres, where researchers were trying to figure out the effect of COVID-19 on the human immune system. “That way, we were able to contribute to an important research cause. Publications are now seeing the light of day that carried out research using our demo machines, and it feels good that Cytek could make a difference.”

Connectivity and collaboration in Amsterdam

Amsterdam Health and Technology Institute (AHTI)Amsterdam Health and Technology Institute

Being in the Amsterdam Area, at the heart of Europe’s life science and health industry, has paid off for Cytek, which has made use of the local talent pool, opportunities for collaboration, and fast access to the continent via Amsterdam’s ports. 

“Every European country has its pros and cons as well as specific rules. That’s why we looked for the most suitable place for supporting the variety of markets within Europe. The Netherlands turned out to be a great gateway for the rest of Europe, everything is now run through Amsterdam. We have a great partnership with the authorities, the business climate is great, and everything is organised in an easy, professional way. Collaborating is in our DNA, that’s also why working with all partners in the chain is going very well.

“Due to the fact that we have instruments, parts and reagents in stock here, we are able to offer services like next day delivery and white glove delivery; we can deliver everything straight to the lab, install it and have it ready for use for our clients.

“Connectivity is key for a global organisation like ours, so being accessible to both our regional and our international connections is very important. In the search for our new location we were very charmed by AHTI – it’s a great space with like-minded people. In that sense, it allows us to seek out partnerships during the meetups that are arranged in the building. It’s always great to work with others and see where you can strengthen each other, and help each other grow.”

Read more about the life sciences and health sector in Amsterdam.