Emulate Inc., a Boston-based company that is developing organ on a chip technology, recently closed an $82 million Series E round of funding. According to this article from Techcrunch, an organ on a chip is “...a recreation of a human organ (or system of human organs) scaled down into a tiny piece of hardware... That hardware, the so-called ‘chip,’ contains chambers where human cells...can be grown…. the chip is supposed to mimic the conditions within a human body, and allow drug makers to better predict what might happen when a new candidate is introduced.” An article in BioMedical Engineering Online from February 2020 says that the chip “...can predict response to an array of stimuli including drug responses and environmental effects.”
Emulate currently has a number of organ chips, including a brain-chip, a colon-intestine chip, a duodenum intestine-chip, a kidney-chip, a liver-chip, and a lung-chip.
We looked in ResolutionAI’s Foundation to learn more about organs on a chip.
Companies, patents, and publications about organs on a chip
In Crunchbase, we found four other companies operating in this area:
- Ufluidix Inc., founded in 2010 in Canada.
- Altis Biosystems, founded in 2015 in North Carolina, has received over $3 million in funding so far. This includes its most recent funding round in February.
- Eavono Biotechnology Co., which was just founded in April.
- Tissue Dynamics, founded in 2017 in Israel, was last funded in 2018.
The number of patents for organ chips has been steadily rising with a large jump between 2017 and 2018.
Patents on organ chips, 2011-2021
We found 150 patents, 32 of which have been granted. Emulate has two of these 32:
- Controlling pressure, which was granted earlier this year
- Removing bubbles in a microfluidic device, also granted earlier this year
Vanderbilt University has the most patents granted of any company, university, or organization overall:
- Normally closed microvalve and applications of the same, granted in 2017
- Organ on chip implementation and applications of the same, granted in 2018
- Organ on chip integration and applications of the same, granted in 2018
- Interconnections of multiple perfused engineered tissue constructs and microbioreactors, multi-microformulators and applications of the same, granted in 2018
- Integrated organ-on-chip systems and applications of the same, granted in 2019
Additionally, Emulate also has five patents in the application stage as this graph indicates:
Patent application submissions for organ chip by company
Donald E. Ingber, the founding director of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard, professor at Harvard Medical School, and professor of bioengineering at Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, is the most frequently published author on organs on a chip. This Network Graph shows his relationships- and strength of connection- to other authors on this topic.
Ingber’s connections to other authors on the topic of organ chips
Most of Ingber’s publications have involved microfluidics and cell structure as this chart indicates.
Ingber's publications by research area
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