In the exacting field of life sciences, where precision is paramount, Efevre Tech emerges as a leader in innovation. The brainchild of Dimitris Kyriakou, a seasoned molecular biologist with a PhD from the University of Cyprus, Efevre has evolved from a personal mission into a global inspiration for laboratory automation.

Indeed, Kyriakou’s academic frustrations with experimental errors sparked the creation of a solution that has revolutionised lab workflows globally.

I recently had the pleasure of visiting their headquarters and was struck by the sheer drive and ambition that permeates the atmosphere. Kyriakou’s early academic struggles with experimental errors were not just frustrations but the sparks for a revolutionary idea.

Born out of a battle against the pervasive ‘Reproducibility Crisis’ in life sciences, the company’s name, Efevre, is derived from ‘Efevretis’ meaning ‘Inventor Technologies’. This crisis underscored a desperate need for a technological salve to enhance experimental precision. Enter AMGEL—an automated system meticulously designed to cut out human errors and boost reproducibility in scientific experiments.

Reflecting on the company’s origins, Kyriakou shared, “My trials in the lab led me to envision a device that could transform scientific experimentation. That vision was the seed from which Efevre grew.”

Initially conceptualised in an 11-page document in 2011, AMGEL eventually received accolades and adoption from prestigious institutions, including the Agricultural Research Institute of Cyprus and notably, a significant custom order from the University of Cambridge.

Since its inception in 2018, Efevre Tech has celebrated a slew of milestones, not least securing hefty grants from the Research and Innovation Foundation of Cyprus, filing for multiple patents, and witnessing the commercial success of AMGEL, which has markedly improved efficiency and consistency in laboratory processes.

“Each achievement marks a stride forward in our quest to refine the scientific process and empower researchers,” Kyriakou remarked, his pride palpable.

Peering into the future, Kyriakou has ambitious plans for Efevre. “We’re on a dual path forward: becoming the leading provider of automation systems in EU academic institutions and commercialising cutting-edge diagnostic applications,” he explained.

This vision is bolstered by the company’s initiative, LIFESPIRIT, an online community designed to tackle laboratory inconsistencies and enhance research validity across Europe.

The inception of AMGEL is a story of personal and professional triumph. During his Master’s studies, Kyriakou wrestled with the poor reproducibility of experimental results, a common snag in life sciences that jeopardises research reliability.

“The genesis of AMGEL sprang from my struggles with these errors. I realised that by automating the error-prone processes, I could not only elevate the quality of my own research but also aid other scientists encountering similar hurdles,” he shared.

“AMGEL eliminates inconsistencies in everyday laboratory procedures. Unlike other systems that focus on single procedures for multiple samples, AMGEL offers a flexible approach, automating various applications for smaller sample amounts,” he added.

In the early years of Efevre Tech, the journey was fraught with challenges typical for any burgeoning technology startup. One significant hurdle was assembling a team that shared Kyriakou’s vision and possessed the resilience and dedication to bring innovative ideas to fruition. “Finding the right people to collaborate with—those willing to invest their time and energy into an unproven idea—was our biggest challenge,” Kyriakou recalled.

The company’s success owes much to its diverse team, with each member bringing unique perspectives and expertise that shape its trajectory.

Key team members include Dimitris Kyriakou: Biologist, researcher, inventor, entrepreneur, ideator and designer of AMGEL, and initiator of LIFESPIRIT; Constantinos Odysseos: Mechanical engineer, responsible for designing and manufacturing AMGEL’s main structure and innovative components like the robotic fridge and freezer; Marios Konstantinou: Electrical engineer and robotic software engineer, whose expertise helped create unique software that integrates various robotic devices into a cohesive system; Rafaella Hadjicosti: Product designer, who enhanced the company’s online presence and professional image; and Nikolaos Pisimisis: Biologist, business and research development, who expanded the company’s exposure to high-profile customers in Greece, Cyprus, and abroad.

Dimitris Kyriakou (left) and Nikolaos Pisimisis (right)

A significant boost came when Efevre Tech clinched the Youth Entrepreneurship Award from the Ministry of Trade. “It was the affirmation we needed that our ideas had wings,” Kyriakou explained.

With significant funding from the Research and Innovation Foundation of Cyprus, these resources have been pivotal in transitioning from concept to market with greater confidence.

Collaborations with major manufacturers in laboratory automation, such as TECAN, Opentrons, Hettich, and Azenta, have been vital for Efevre’s technological advancements.

“These partnerships bring brand value and quality to our products,” Kyriakou said, a testament to six years of persistent effort and successful mutual projects.

Moreover, the company’s commitment to environmental stewardship is evident in its ISO14001 certification.

“Our culture is to provide products that minimise environmental impact,” Kyriakou stated, highlighting how AMGEL components are crafted from eco-friendly materials, reducing plastic waste and improving energy efficiency.

In intellectual property management, this is critical for Efevre Tech. “We create unique products that need patent protection to ensure market freedom. Our patent process even intersected with a patent from Theranos, highlighting the importance of securing our innovations,” Kyriakou shared with a chuckle.

In our discussion, Kyriakou’s passion was evident as he shared Efevre Tech’s philosophy. “Our mission is encapsulated in our motto: ‘Your necessity, our innovation’. We aim to address the needs of life-science laboratories globally,” he affirmed.

The company fosters a collaborative environment where all team members are encouraged to voice their ideas, propelling innovation and success.

Kyriakou’s personal experiences and market insights have shaped Efevre Tech’s expansion strategy.

“Entering the UK market, particularly with our recent order from the University of Cambridge, represents a significant opportunity. This system will allow screening for cancer markers, potentially saving many lives,” he noted with excitement.

To further their reach, Efevre Tech engages in educational outreach to inspire and mentor young people. “Our internships, supported by RIF, help us inspire young minds and are a source of inspiration for us too,” Kyriakou shared. The most rewarding aspect is witnessing the passion and creativity of these young participants.

Staying ahead in the fast-evolving tech landscape is crucial for Efevre Tech. “Our industry is developing slowly, allowing us to capture market share with novel products. A visit to an advanced medical centre in Tel Aviv, Athens and Dubai highlighted the need for flexible, user-friendly systems like AMGEL,” Kyriakou explained.

Furthermore, Efevre Tech significantly influences the local tech community and economy in Cyprus. “We collaborate with researchers across Cyprus and Greece, formulating grant proposals and expanding connections through our online platform, LIFESPIRIT,” Kyriakou stated.

Contributing to the local community is a personal and professional priority. Feedback from the Life Spirit community, which registered multiple universities across Europe within three months of its release, underscored the need for such a solution.

“The feedback highlighted a profound lack of available solutions that match AMGEL’s flexibility in performing multiple procedures on the same device,” he added.

The impact of AMGEL in transforming client research capabilities is a testament to its effectiveness.

“Seeing our product make a significant difference in scientific research is incredibly fulfilling,” Kyriakou concluded.

The feedback from early adopters like the Agricultural Research Institute of Cyprus has been invaluable in shaping the product’s development, supporting Efevre Tech’s journey from a fledgling startup to a significant player in laboratory automation.