Emulate’s Human Emulation System is comprised of instrumentation, software applications, and its Organ-Chips, which contain hollow channels lined with living human cells and tissues.
Approximately the size of an AA battery, an Organ-Chip recreates the natural physiology and mechanical forces that cells experience within the human body, according to the Boston, MA-based company, which recently raised $36m in Series C financing.
“Funds from this financing round will directly impact Emulate's expansion of our suite of products within the Human Emulation System, to broaden functionality and enhance commercial efforts so that researchers in the pharmaceutical industry can use Organs-on-Chips technology across the entire drug discovery and development process,” said Geraldine Hamilton, president and chief scientific officer of Emulate.
Disease models are one of three areas in which the company is expanding the functionality of its Human Emulation System, Hamilton told us.
“First, we are broadening our portfolio of Organ-Chips and building deeper biological functionality into them, particularly our most advanced chips, Lung-Chip, Liver-Chip and Intestine-Chip,” he said. “Then, we are adding disease models to gain further understanding of the mechanisms of disease in key areas, including neurodegenerative diseases, oncology, intestinal diseases and the microbiome, and infectious diseases.”
The company also is developing new software applications to enable data analysis and integration with standard analytical approaches in the pharmaceutical industry.
“What's motivating us to make these enhancements is that the pharma companies want to expand the use of our system for decision making throughout all stages of the drug development process,” said Hamilton – and the company is aligning its Human Emulation System to meet this need.
The company’s commercial efforts have strong momentum, Hamilton said, with 30 customers and users of its Human Emulation System. The company also has secured collaboration agreements with some of the top pharmaceutical companies, including AstraZeneca, Roche, Takeda, Merck, and Janssen/J&J. This, in addition to a cooperative research and development agreement with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“At this next stage of our company’s growth, we are building our commercial-readiness and community support team to drive the broad adoption of our Human Emulation System in the pharmaceutical industry,” Hamilton explained.
“We are developing expert teams to assimilate with the users of our system and meet their needs as they ramp up the use of the Human Emulation System within their labs,” he added.
The investment round was led by Founders Fund and included additional new investors such as ALS Investment Fund, SciFi VC, members of GlassWall Syndicate Association, as well as several other existing investors.