Home » Life sciences » Making a difference with disruptive organ-on-a-chip technology

Globally, top pharma companies are exploring the potential of organ-on-a-chip (OOC) technology to provide major improvements in the accuracy and efficiency of medicine discovery.

Dr David Hughes

CEO, CN Bio Innovations 

Billions are invested into drug discovery annually, yet most drugs never reach the market. Why? Because experiments fail to predict human effects. Experts suggest that bridging this gap with OOC technology will increase success rates and significantly reduce R&D costs.

Billions are invested into drug discovery annually, yet most drugs never reach the market.

OOC enables us to recreate human physiology and disease. Essentially, we grow three-dimensional organs and tissues with fluid circulating through them to provide nutrients and mimic blood flow. These lab-grown mimics function and respond to drugs in the same way as in humans. They can be linked together to simulate processes such as drug absorption and metabolism, or to understand interactions between organs, such as inflammation, which drive disease and cause unexpected toxicities. To date animals, which are poor predictors of human outcomes, have been depended on to provide these insights. Now we can provide a rapid, usable, cost-effective and more human-relevant alternative.

Maureen Coleman

Chairman, CN Bio Innovations

The inability of traditional experiments to predict medicine safety and effectiveness is a root cause of drug discovery inefficiency. OOC provides high quality, human-relevant data to facilitate more informed decisions about which medicines to take into the clinic. Embedding it throughout drug discovery will undoubtedly deliver the biggest impact and greatest savings. 

Opportunities to use OOC to replace animal experimentation are being explored, an area of high potential is new modalities such as cell or gene therapies, which rely on human-specific modes of action. OOC tests are demonstrating they can predict clinical outcomes that animal models cannot.  

Reporter comments 

  • OOC is being used to cross-validate and supplement data from traditional methodologies to improve medicines discovery success rates. Its potential has piqued regulators interest, who currently work with CN Bio to support rapid and widespread adoption. From here, OOC’s natural next step is its inclusion within IND submissions.  
  • Dr David Hughes worked with field leaders M.I.T to develop human body-on-a-chip systems. He recently published work with AstraZeneca using OOC to study fatty liver disease, a growing developed world epidemic and an area of unmet need. 
  • CN Bio is expanding the application of its technology across the globe and further innovation is in the pipeline. 
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