The story and people behind the creation of SPARTA®

SPARTA® was developed through years of innovative research and is set to enable accelerated and robust nanoformulation development.

Enabling nanoformulations for next-generation therapeutics

Across the entire spectrum of the life sciences sector, from academia and hospitals to pharmaceutical and biotech companies, enormous amounts of resources are invested in the development of new treatments to combat the largest public health challenges. This ranges from advanced cancer treatments that significantly improve survival, to treating previously untreatable diseases through gene therapy. The absolute breakthrough in nanomedicine technology was recently signified with over 50% of the global population having now received a COVID-19 vaccination, many of which were mRNA vaccines. However, the technologies available to analyse these new medicines continue to lag behind. There remains a largely unmet need for specifically designed analytical tools that are more sensitive and capable of accelerating R&D and improving quality control of nanoformulations.

The SPARTA® technology, offered exclusively by SPARTA Biodiscovery, fulfils this need through its ability to chemically characterise the individual particles in nanomedicines to ensure each particle does what it is supposed to do. The depth of data SPARTA® provides will enable improved efficiency in troubleshooting and process development of next generation therapeutics and is designed to work for partners across all sectors of the life sciences. This will have a plethora of benefits, most notably for patients who will have quicker access to safer technologies for disease treatments and vaccinations.

SPARTA®’s origin

SPARTA® – Single Particle Automated Raman Trapping Analysis – is a bench-top instrument developed through years of innovative research by multidisciplinary UK-based experts in analytics, chemistry, optics and bioengineering from the highly renowned Stevens Group at Imperial College London. SPARTA® was developed as an answer to the pressing need for novel analytical tools specifically designed for nanoformulation analysis and to meet the demands of R&D and quality control requirements of the next generation of pharmaceuticals.

The faces behind innovation

Meet the team

Prof. Molly Stevens, FREng FRS

Co-founder, advisory board chair

Professor of Biomedical Materials and Regenerative Medicine at Imperial College London, Director of the UK Regenerative Medicine Programme Hub and co-inventor of SPARTA®. A serial entrepreneur, has NED experience, was previously CSO and is Foreign Member of the US National Academy of Engineering and of the US Academy of Arts and Sciences. Head of the renowned Stevens Group at Imperial College London which has been recognised by over 30 major international prizes. Has published over 350 academic papers and is recognised by Clarivate as one of the world’s most highly cited researchers.

Dr. Jelle Penders

Co-founder, CEO/CTO

Experienced postdoctoral research associate in the field of biomaterials and analytical chemistry.  Co-inventor of SPARTA® and led the technical development since its inception, has a strong background in nano characterisation techniques including Raman spectroscopy and Electron Microscopy. He is driven to build a sustainable business around the SPARTA® technology, with patient benefit at its heart, to catalyze the full potential of the next generation of safe and effective nanomedicine treatments.

Dr. Alastair Smith


Founder and Chief Executive of Avacta Group plc, an AIM listed biotech. Has significant experience building early stage businesses during fifteen years as a public company CEO along with extensive management, strategic planning and transactional experience. Is well known in the UK public markets and well respected and trusted executive with many years’ experience of investor relations in the UK, Europe and US. Has also successfully delivered multiple follow-on fundraisings for the Avacta Group. Passionate about building successful healthcare, science and technology businesses based on world-class ideas and great teams.

Dr. David Choveaux

Business Development and Operations

Translational Research Manager with experience providing strategic and specialist research translation and development support. Equipped with a record of success in planning, developing, writing and editing proposals that have attracted research funding to develop novel technologies and solutions in the health tech space. Possesses broad experience covering proposal development, intellectual property management, and commercialisation of research innovations.

Discover the benefits and technology of SPARTA®