CN Bio, a leading Organ-on-a-chip Company (OOC) that designs and manufactures single- and multi-organ microphysiological systems (MPS), today announced a research collaboration with the Infection Innovation Consortium (iiCON), a global collaborative infectious disease R&D programme, to validate the next generation of COVID-19 research tools.
iiCON’s £174 million programme brings together industry, academia, and clinicians to accelerate the discovery, development and deployment of new treatments and products – saving and improving millions of lives through collaborative innovation. Led by the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM), its partner members are Unilever, Evotec, Liverpool University Hospitals Foundation Trust, University of Liverpool, and Infex Therapeutics.
Under the terms of the agreement, iiCON lead partner, LSTM, a world-leading institute for infectious disease research, will independently validate CN Bio’s novel lung and lung-liver models, designed to advance novel SARS-CoV-2 drug discovery and development.
CN Bio’s SARS-CoV-2 3D lung cell culture models were developed as part of an Innovate UK project to improve the efficiency and accuracy of COVID-19 drug development. The Company was granted funding to build multi-cellular upper and lower human airway and multi-organ models that more accurately reflect the human environment and deliver more translatable data, in comparison to current in vivo studies.
By combining in vitro lung and liver cultures, the multi-organ model uniquely enables inter-organ crosstalk effects to be studied; providing deeper human-specific mechanistic insights of the COVID-19 disease state, which is known to affect numerous tissue/organs of the body. The single and multi-organ models have been developed for use with the Company’s PhysioMimix™ plug-and-play, lab-benchtop MPS, enabling straightforward incorporation into current pre-clinical research projects investigating the next generation of COVID-19 therapeutics to treat and prevent the infection.
Expanding on the project with Innovate UK, within nine months, CN Bio’s perfused lung models are to be transferred to LSTM for validation, to demonstrate the ability of the PhysioMimix systems to support the full viral life cycle of SARS-CoV-2 and facilitate testing with anti-viral compounds. LSTM will validate the systems’ use in high containment laboratories (CL3) for studies with infectious viral materials and validate the system’s potential to identify PK/PD indices and PD Targets for the development of safe and efficacious dosing regimens of new antiviral therapeutics.
Following this initial evaluation, it is intended that iiCON will have access to the PhysioMimix technology and its associated 3D tissue models for a variety of translational infectious disease projects. A successful outcome from the collaboration will support researchers globally by providing advanced insights to SARS-CoV-2 infections in humans and enable CN Bio to expand its portfolio of OOC models to address a broader and more diverse range of therapeutic areas.