Pharmaceutical companies’ search for ways to trim costs on research and development is leading them to try out some alternative technologies to achieve that. Organ-on-a-chip, aka human-on-a-chip, fits that description.
Sanofi US is collaborating with Hurel, a biotechnology startup with a platform that replicates the human liver using living cells. It will fund studies to assess the utility of Hurel’s organ-on-a-chip platform for pre-clinical drug development, according to a company statement.
Hurel sees the liver as ideal for assessing a drug’s toxicity in pre-clinical trials.
Hurel will conduct some of the studies in its laboratories in North Brunswick, New Jersey and will work with Sanofi R&D at sites in the U.S. and Europe. The results of the study will be published in at least one co-authored, peer-reviewed scientific publications.
Marc Bonnefoi, Head of Sanofi’s North America R&D hub said:”Our partnership with Hurel is an opportunity to leverage an innovative new life sciences technology to accelerate drug development and impact the lives of patients.”
The initial phase of this new R&D collaboration with Sanofi will aim to validate Hurel’s human liver on a chip in a series of experiments that take place in the pre-clinical phase. It will evaluate toxicology, drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics to assess how the body absorbs and distributes a drug through different organs.
It also has microfluidic devices that can replicate multiple tissue interactions that will be used in the studies.
Earlier this year Hurel raised $9.2 million in a Series A round to commercialize its organ-on-a-chip platform launched earlier this year.