InSphero Announces Collaboration with NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)

InSphero Announces Collaboration with NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)

Joint study will accelerate development of physiologically relevant 3D models for anti-cancer drug screening.  PDF Version


Schlieren, Switzerland -  May 03, 2017  InSphero AG today announced a collaboration with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) to identify anti-cancer agents with cytotoxic activity in 3D tumor models. In this joint project, NCATS will use patient-derived xenograft (PDX) tumor microtissues, provided by InSphero in its 384 well platform, to screen a library of anti-cancer agents for anti-tumor efficacy using assays that measure cell proliferation, tissue integrity, and tissue size.

“For cancer drug discovery, it is of critical importance to have models that are physiologically relevant,” says InSphero Chief Technology Officer and Co-founder Jens M. Kelm, Ph.D. “3D microtissues models provide a more accurate reflection of the tumor and its extracellular environment.” The latest generation of customizable 3D tumor microtissue models available from InSphero also capture the heterogeneity of tumor cell populations, making them ideal for investigating special tumor cell sub-populations called cancer stem cells (CSCs) or tumor-initiating cells. These cells have self-renewal potential and are thought to drive tumor formation and metastasis. CSCs appear to be resistant to current chemotherapy and radiation-therapy treatments that produce cancer recurrence, thus there is a heightened interest among oncologists to be able to screen therapeutic agents that target CSCs and other tumor cell sub-populations.

“To unlock the full potential of more physiologically relevant models to fosterfor drug development we need to be able to integrate 3D cancer models into the drug screening process as early as possible,” says Dr. Kelm. InSphero will work closely with researchers at NCATS to evaluate how PDX-derived tumor microtissues can be applied in primary and secondary screening campaigns using small to mid-size compound libraries.

“Our project with InSphero is yet another example of how NCATS fosters collaborations to explore novel technologies that carry the promise to accelerate discovery of molecular therapeutic agents across multiple disease areas,” says Anton Simeonov, Ph.D., acting deputy scientific director of NCATS’ Division of Pre-Clinical Innovation.

For more information about NCATS, visit

For more information about InSphero, visit

InSphero contacts

Dr. Randy Strube
Director of Global Marketing
Phone +1 800-779-7558 ext. 102
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Dr. Patrick Guye
Chief Scientific Officer
Phone +41 44 5150490
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About InSphero

InSphero provides superior biological relevance to in vitro testing with its easy-to-use solutions for production, culture and assessment of organotypic 3D cell culture models. The company’s patented technologies include the 3D Select™ Process (pending) and scaffold-free 3D cell culture plates that enable large-scale, reproducible production of a broad range of assay-ready 3D InSight™ Microtissues derived from liver, pancreas, and tumors. These models and contract research services utilizing them help to identify promising drugs and toxic liabilities with greater predictive power at early development stages, enabling better pre-clinical decision making, saving development cost, and shortening time to market. InSphero technologies drive significant findings in peer-reviewed journals, through collaborative projects such as EU-ToxRisk and HeCaToS, and have gained validation in the world’s largest government institutions and pharmaceutical, chemical and cosmetics companies. This 3D know-how is also being applied in the diagnostics field to aid development of personalized chemotherapeutic strategies for the treatment of cancer.

Founded in 2009, the privately held company is headquartered in Schlieren, Switzerland with subsidiaries in the United States (Brunswick, ME) and Waldshut, Germany. It has been recognized for its scientific and commercial achievements with several national and international awards.

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