Static systems to obtain 3D spheroid cell models: a cost analysis comparing the implementation of four types of microwell array inserts

M.C. Decarli, A. Mizukami, R.A. Azoubel, P.I. Neto, C. Mota, A.M. Moraes, J.V.L. Silva, L. Moroni*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


3D cell culture models in the form of spheroids are undoubtedly the best approach to understand complex cellular physiological mechanisms. These structures have been used in a plethora of applications, spanning from pharmaceutical to regenerative medicine, showing potential for complete tissue and organ development. All these different applications demand large quantities of uniform spheroids regarding size and geometry and several methods have already been proposed to address this demand. Along with scientific and technical aspects, cost analysis is equally important to assess the feasibility of each system to better fit the intended scale and application with appropriate cost-benefit ratio. Herein, we describe a case study comparing the costs of four microwell arrays, three commercial systems, and a proprietary device developed in-house. The cost analysis considered three scale scenarios ranging from batches of 100, 1000 and 5000 spheroids. The main cost drivers and limitations were identified, to enable future additional process improvement. Overall, the resulting case study offered insights in terms of quality, reproducibility, feasibility, and costs for the implementation of 3D model static systems in a cell culture laboratory either for academic use or for small-scale or start-up companies.
Original languageEnglish
Article number108414
Number of pages10
JournalBiochemical Engineering Journal
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2022


  • 3D cell model
  • Cell spheroid
  • Microwel l array
  • Cost analysis
  • Bioprocess economics
  • SIZE

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