COMPANIES RESEARCHING ORGANS-ON-CHIP
Microfluidics start-ups working on organ-on-chip technology: Emulate is a US start-up, well-known to have come up with the first organs-on-chips. Their main goal is to develop microfluidic chips to understand how diseases, drugs, chemicals and food affect our health. The start-up was created in the labs of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering in Harvard. After developing many organs-on-chip (such as lungs-on-chip, gut-on-chip and even blood-brain-barrier-on-chip), Emulate is now researching personalized medicine.
Like Emulate, InSphero was created at a university: the Zurich university in Switzerland. It now became the n°1 start-up in Switzerland. However, InSphero did not rise to fame for its organs-on-chips, but for its 3D cell culture. Their goal is to develop safer and more efficient drugs. Among their clients are the ten most important pharmaceutical companies in the world. However, they will be using organs-on-chips as well in the coming years, to take on the challenge of personalized medicine.
Elvesys is a French microfluidics start-up. As soon as 2011, Elvesys commercialized microfluidic instruments in order to become one of the main companies in the field. Today, it aims to stimulate research projects around organs-on-chips in order to push back the limits of life.
Mimetas – the organ-on-a-chip company is a Dutch company known for developing OrganoPlates, microfluidic cell culture plates that allow culture and screening of a large assay of organ models and physiologically relevant tissues. Thanks to those plates, Mimetas has already developed many organs-on-chips (kidney, gut, tumors and many others…) and are researching the technology.
ASCENDANCE BIOTECHNOLOGY – HEPREGEN
This start-up results from the fusion of Hepregen, another start-up that sprouted from the MIT incubator in 2008, and ESI BIO. It is know for its HepatoPac, a model of liver-on-chip that proved to have many real-life applications, either on human cells or on rat, monkey and dog cells. The company focuses on discovering and testing new treatments with Hepregen’s top technology, and on its ESI BIO stem cell research.
Like Emulate and Hepregen, Nortis was created in an American university: the University of Washington, in 2012. Since then, the company has started to develop organs-on-chips and especially kidneys-on-chip. Their goal is to develop a new generation of in vitro systems to advance research on new treatments and reduce both cost and time of development.
Mesobiotech SAS is a company created by Pr. Yong Chen of the Ecole Normale Supérieure of Paris. It specializes in micro-structural patch culture for human stem cells culture and differentiation.
The company focuses some of its resources on the application of its technology to manufacture organs-on-chip for personalized medicine.
TissUse is a German start-up that was created at the Technische University in Berlin, in 2010. The company produced a diverse range of organs-on-chips, and recently developed a multi-organ-on-chip with 4 organs on the same chip. It is currently developing a new human-on-chip with 10 organs, which would be a great innovation, especially because of how challenging it can be to link so many organs.
Unlike the other companies on the list, AxoSim researches nerves-on-chip, a rarely developed technology so far. It was created in 2014 at Tutane University and aims to develop the special microfluidic chips to fight cancer.
Similarly to AxoSim, TaraBiosystems focuses on developing a specific chip, the heart-on-chip. The company was created in 2014, at the Columbia University of New York. In order to produce a heartbeat-like movement, TaraBiosystems exposed its chip to electrical stimuli, combining their expertise in biology, material science and electrical engineering.
Cherry Biotech SAS has developed microfluidic cell culture instruments for research laboratories.
Today, it focuses on developing a new generation of cell environment control adapted to organs-on-chip.
4Dcell develops and sells cell culture containment systems for research and pharmaceutical laboratories. The company aims to develop artificial « 4D » environments that best imitate the micro-environment of the cells within the organs. The tools are destined to increase the in vivo/in vitro correlation in cellular biology experiments for laboratories.