Innovate UK awards grant to CN Bio Innovations and AstraZeneca to use Organs-on-Chips to evaluate the use of existing drugs to treat fatty liver disease

London, UK, October 11 2017: Organ-on-a-Chip specialist CN Bio Innovations Limited announces that Innovate UK has awarded the company a £670,000 grant co-funded by the newly created Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

Under the award, CN Bio will collaborate with global biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to combine Organ-on-a-Chip models of fatty liver disease and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) with computational systems biology to enable drug rescue, repurposing or repositioning. AstraZeneca will use CN Bio’s technology to analyse the genetic background of donor cells and perform bioanalytical studies to further develop the Organ-on-chip models.

If a drug fails during the clinical development process due to a lack of efficacy, there may be an opportunity to repurpose the drug in a new disease area. The aim of this project is to use computational biology approaches to facilitate interpretation of large and complex data sets resulting from experiments using human Organ-on-a-Chip technologies. These computational models can then be examined to determine if clinical-stage drug candidates might be successfully used in the treatment of fatty liver disease or NASH. Up to five AstraZeneca drugs will be tested.
Chief Technical Officer of CN Bio, Dr David Hughes, said: “Our ultimate goal is to enable drugs that might benefit patients with fatty liver disease to be returned to the clinic for further study. Interpretation of Organs-on-Chips experiments using computational modelling has the potential to provide a more rational way to select compounds for clinical repurposing. We’re delighted to have been awarded this grant by Innovate UK.”

Dr Lorna Ewart, Head of Microphysiological Systems Centre of Excellence at AstraZeneca’s IMED Biotech Unit, said: “AstraZeneca sees great potential for Organ-on-a-Chip technology within drug discovery and development. This collaboration will build on our disease knowledge and enable us to test innovative ways of accelerating our delivery of new medicines to patients.”

–ENDS–

About CN Bio Innovations

CN Bio Innovations develops devices that boost the precision and speed of biological research. By predicting the effects chemical and biological substances will have on human organs, researchers can fast-track improvements in healthcare. In the past 4 years CN Bio has worked on more than 25 projects with pharmaceutical partners, using our Organs-on-Chips and related microfluidic devices to gather precise, human-relevant data.

CN Bio is backed by prestigious grant awards from sponsors including the US Department of Defence and Innovate UK. Spun out from the University of Oxford, the company is collaborating with and developing intellectual property from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Vanderbilt University.

About Innovate UK

Innovate UK is the UK’s innovation agency. It works with people, companies and partner organisations to find and drive the science and technology innovations that will grow the UK economy. For further information visit www.innovateuk.gov.uk.

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