Unchained Labs goes all in on Lipid Nanoparticles, acquires Blacktrace Holdings!

July 17, 2023 – Pleasanton, CA – Unchained Labs, the life sciences company that’s all about getting biologics and gene therapy researchers the right tools for the job, acquired Blacktrace Holdings today. For decades, Blacktrace’s Dolomite microfluidics have been helping scientists with complex workflows. More recently, their Particle Works solutions are changing the game on how researchers screen lipid nanoparticle (LNP) formulations and rapidly scale-up the winners – with the same methods and microfluidic chip. 

We all know LNPs make great vaccines, but they are coming on strong in gene therapy. To be effective, LNPs need to be the right size and have the right make up to get inside cells and deliver their payload. Making the perfect LNP means finding the best formulation, which requires a ton of trial and error. Researchers need to figure out the right lipid mixture, the right lipid to payload ratio and dial in the different flow rates needed to mix it all together – a process that can feel like it takes forever. 

That’s where the Particle Works LNP solutions come to the rescue. ALiS (Automated Library Synthesis System) is the only high throughout LNP formulation screening solution out there. In a single, six-hour experiment, ALiS creates 96 unique, 200 μl LNP formulations that can be screened for size and encapsulation, and then moved to assays that check for payload expression. Once the best formulation is found, ANP (Automated Nanoparticle System) takes over to fine-tune the ALiS method, and using the same reusable chip can scale it up to over 50 liters in 24 hours. If this wasn’t enough, a GMP production solution is currently in the works and Unchained Labs plans to finish it and make it available ASAP. 

“We have spent the past two years developing and providing a better way to make LNPs,” said Mark Gilligan, CEO at Blacktrace Holdings. “Unchained Labs is committed to providing LNP researchers with tailor-made solutions and I can’t think of a better home for our Particle Works solutions.” 

“Next-generation modalities like LNPs are changing the world,” said Tim Harkness, Founder and CEO at Unchained Labs. “All we think about every day is how to make the jobs of researchers developing these complex therapies easier, and we can’t wait to get ALiS and ANP into the LNP labs that need them.” 

Investment funds affiliated with Carlyle, which began backing Unchained Labs in 2021, invested capital to support the acquisition with participation from Unchained Labs management. 

About Unchained Labs

Here’s the deal. We’re all about helping biologics and gene therapy researchers break free from tools that just don’t cut it. Unleashing problem-tackling products that make a huge difference in the real science they do every day. That’s our mantra, our promise and we own it. We’re located in Pleasanton, CA and can be found online at www.unchainedlabs.com. 


Taegen Clary
SVP of Marketing, Unchained Labs
[email protected]

Download PDF of the press release