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CN Bio awarded Innovate UK grant to develop single and multi-organ models for COVID-19 research

publication date: Mar 12, 2021
author/source: CN Bio



Funding will advance 3D lung cell culture models to accelerate drug discovery

CN Bio, a leading developer of single and multi-organ microphysiological systems (MPS), otherwise known as organ-on-a-chip, has announced it has received a grant from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, to develop human-relevant MPS to advance investigations into SARS-CoV-2 infection. The funding will be used to develop and test advanced cell culture models that represent different regions of the lung and subsequently linking these models to other organ systems, such as liver and gut, to inform the rapid development of novel therapeutics.

The fast-moving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic directs additional pressure onto current drug discovery and development processes, which can be limited by misrepresentative in vivo models that cause a large proportion of new medicines to fail when taken to clinical trials. To circumvent this, CN Bio is developing single and multi-organ COVID-19 models to investigate virology and immunology throughout the body, with a prolonged viable cell culture time for extended studies. To further improve translatability of the COVID-19 infected lung culture, the 3D model will enable researchers to create an organotypic air-liquid interface, which has more utility than the current organoid approach, in which cilia within the structure make it difficult to study viral infection. The information obtained from the MPS will support researchers across the globe to better understand the infection, and consequently develop medicines with improved accuracy and efficiency prior to reaching clinical stages.

The single and multi-organ COVID-19 lung and lung-liver models will be developed specifically for use with the PhysioMimixTM lab-benchtop microphysiological system, a simple to use, plug-and-play solution for automating small scale organ-on-a-chip assays. These features will enable the models to be rapidly shared with collaborators, to allow them to be further validated and incorporated into current research streams working to develop the next generation of therapeutics to treat and prevent COVID-19.

Dr Tomasz Kostrzewski, Director, Biology, CN Bio, said: “Through Innovate UK’s recognition of our technology’s potential, CN Bio is proud to be working on an additional COVID-19 project, to support the global effort in tackling the pandemic. This funding will enable us to develop and evaluate humanised single and multi-organ lung models, with the aim of deploying these to researchers investigating COVID-19 infection and immunology, and ultimately strengthen the fight against the spread of the virus.”  


CN Bio’s Organ-on-a-Chip technology


About CN Bio

CN Bio is a leading cell culture company that has developed single and multi-organ microphysiological systems (MPS) that improve the accuracy and efficiency of drug discovery. With more than a decade of research and development experience in multi-organ microphysiology, the Company aims to transform the way human-relevant pre-clinical data is generated through the development of the most complete model of the human “Body-on-a-Chip” in the laboratory.

CN Bio’s organ-on-chip systems, which include the PhysioMimix™ lab-benchtop instrument, enable researchers to model human biology in the lab through rapid and predictive 3D human tissue-based studies that harness microfluidic technology. The technology bridges the gap between traditional cell culture and human studies, advancing towards the simulation of human biological conditions to support the accelerated development of new therapeutics in application areas including oncology, infectious diseases, metabolism and inflammation.

CN Bio supports researchers that require data-rich in vitro studies for the analysis of novel compounds, and assessment of toxicity and safety, in addition to supporting investigation into a broad range of biological processes across different organ cell-types, in application areas including ADME and toxicology, disease modelling, drug discovery, drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics, and drug repurposing.

CN Bio’s technology is licensed from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Vanderbilt University, and has been successfully adopted by numerous pharma and academic partners.

CN Bio’s headquarters and laboratories are based in Cambridge, UK, with an international network of distributors.



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