EU project The Body-on-a-Chip

A next generation drug testing device

  • Comprehensive in vitro model, which facilitates identification of multi-organ toxicity and/or decreased efficacy due to metabolic activity
  • Program / Full Project Title / Project Acronym: 7th Framework program, FET Open / The Body-on-a-chip / BoC
  • Project No / Call identifier: STREP #296257 / FP7-ICT-2011-C
  • Starting date / Budget / Duration: June 1, 2012 / 1.4 M € / 36 Months
  • Coordinating organization: InSphero AG
BOC 01
The Body-on-a-chip.  A 96-well format multi-tissue interaction testing chip (close-up shows microtissue compartment with loading port). Ten parallel microfluidic channels interconnect six culturing compartments, in which microtissues of different types can be loaded.

  • The evaluation of candidate compounds with the help of in vitro cell-based assays is an integral part of drug development processes. To date, the information gained from conventional cell culture studies has not been meaningful enough to eliminate a large fraction of unsuitable candidate compounds at early stages of the screening process. The Body-on-a-Chip (BoC) concept constitutes an enabling technology for in depth understanding of interactions between drugs and their metabolites in various organs with regard to toxic effects (ADME/tox) and/or drug efficacy. All experiments were conducted with 3D microtissue models, which, in many cases, predict drug effects better than conventional 2D in vitro testing systems. The platform accommodated different types of microtissues and features microfluidic interconnections between these compartments, thus mimicking the physiological context and conditions in a complex organism. Sensitive analytical methods such as mass spectroscopy was integrated into the overall design in order to enable metabolic profiling of chip-based cell systems. The model is designed to enable collection of data from a comprehensive in vitro model, which identifes multi-organ toxicity and/or decreased efficacy due to metabolic activity, and thus has the potential to improve the drug development process by significantly reducing development costs and time to market.

  •  View peer-reviewed publications resulting from the BoC Project on our Literature References page

  • Body-on-a-Chip project objectives

    • Establishment of a modular, microchip-based technology that enables multi-tissue culturing in compartments interconnected by microfluidic channels and equipped with access ports for accompanying analysis.
    • Establishment of low-volume mass-spectrometric methods to enrich and detect metabolic analyte molecules in culture compartments and interconnecting channels.
    • Establishment of rat and human organotypic microtissues as relevant test platforms for drug screening.
    • Microtissue-based toxicological metabolic fingerprints using single and interconnected compartments.
    • Evaluation of systemic efficacy and off-target effects of candidate compounds in a single in vitro system.
    • Use of the developed platform to produce new scientific results and insights in the area of systems biology and pharmacology in a "whole" organism concept.
  • Bioengineering lab (BEL) ETH Zurich, Basel, Switzerland

    The Bio Engineering Laboratory (BEL) was established in 2008 at the Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering (D-BSSE) in Basel. BEL is rooted in Engineering and Physics and is performing interdisciplinary research and education relevant to Biology and Systems Biology. The BEL has longstanding experience in the fields of chemical and biosensor microsystems, bioelectronics and microfluidic cell handling/analysis technologies.
    Prof. Dr. Andreas Hierlemann, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    InSphero AG, Zurich, Switzerland

    InSphero AG is a spin off company from the Federal Institute of Technology and the University of Zürich. Currently, InSphero works with 7 out of the global top 10 pharmaceutical and cosmetics companies to implement its highly predictive 3D microtissue models into the development workflows. InSphero is a worldwide operating company with customers in Europe, the US and Asia.
    Dr. Olivier Frey, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
    Dr. David Fluri, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Animal Physiology and Neurobiology K.U. Leuven, Belgium

    The laboratory of Functional Genomics and Proteomics has a longstanding expertise in protein, peptide and small molecule identification, combined with state-of-the-art technology, amongst which the incorporation of microfluidics. The laboratory has a strong expertise in the development of highly sensitive mass spectrometry methods for small volume samples.
    Prof. Dr. Liliane Schoofs, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Leibniz Research Centre For Working Environment and Human Factors Technical University Dortmund, Germany

    IfADo is a Leibniz research center at Dortmund Technical University with 120 employees and a strong focus in Toxicology. The institute has an excellently equipped imaging center with confocal laser scanning, two-photon and time lapse microscopy, cell and molecular biology labs, well-established techniques for isolation and cultivation of hepatocytes and analysis of hepatic functions.
    Prof. Dr. Jan G. Hengstler, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Astra Zeneca Pharmaceuticals, United Kingdom

    The AstraZeneca Oncology Innovative Medicine (iMed) unit is responsible to carry out early drug discovery research in Oncology diseases and provide pre-clinical contribution in the development of new Oncology medicines. The Alderley Park Oncology group has developed several highly successful Oncology medicines. The unit is responsible for all stages of pre-clinical drug discovery and, in conjunction with its internal & external collaborator, continues to advance the frontier of Oncology research using a combination of in vitro cell models and animal models.
    Dr. Eric Tang, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • For further questions please contact:

    Dr. Olivier Frey
    Microphysiological Systems Project Manager, InSphero AG
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    phone +41 44 515 04 94


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