Periodic Reporting for period 1 - BrainChip (Human on Chip : Microsensor unit and control algorithm integration for brain on a chip drug testing applications and development)
Reporting period: 2017-09-15 to 2018-09-14
Cherry Biotech is working in the development of an automated system based in the use of microfluidics, extracellular matrices and perfused three-dimensional multi-cellular environments to achieve a better reproduction of in vivo models while improving inter-cellular connectivity, cells survival, interconnected cellular niches separation and neuronal differentiation in vitro. The system will be conceived since the beginning as an application affordable, usable and comprehensive, disposable cartridges -based device for automated and controlled drug-testing using patient specific cells in the long run. The overall device will exploit current Cherry Biotech developed temperature control technologies by adding new optical, fluidic and electrical components, as well as information processing and data retrieval capabilities, to achieve a self-standing, or alternatively microscope-adaptable, system applicable to theranostics, to drug development and to fundamental life sciences research.
The resulting system and collateral knowledge will be also applied to target other human organ models with the wider aim to achieve an integrated testing platform for personalised therapeutic molecules and for controlled cell differentiation. The full system is intended to allow accurate spatial control of cells placement and local extracellular matrices in a disposable microfluidic chip as well as automated monitoring of a range of previously defined parameters related to temporally defined infusion protocols. This development is expected to also build internal strong synergies towards the human-on- a-chip Cherry Biotech long-term purpose.
The first and simpler prototype (BrainChip Platform 1) targets the electrophysiology research community and is already being sold as an optional feature for the CherryTEMP© product. The disposable associated to this product is based in a petri dish and facilitates electrophysiological recordings when needed. The device has been tested in relevant environments, used by early adopters, and finally commercialized.
The second prototype, the CubiX© platform (formerly presented as the BrainChip Platform 2), targets a much more complex, ambitious, and integrated device, powered by artificial intelligence and aimed to partially substitute animal testing during drug development in the near future, while reducing pharma industry costs. Its range of applications is not limited to mimicking brain environments and can be expanded by updating its hardware, changing the organ model, and introducing new disposables, in the future. A first minimum viable product (working prototype) for the the CubiX© platform has been integrated and software has been developed to allow its autonomous functioning. However, full test in a relevant environment of this platform has been hindered by the contingencies experimented and the delays occurred in the fabrication of its associated brain-blood barrier (BBB) mimicking disposable.
A communication plan has been followed also since the beginning by assisting to meetings of the Human Brain Project and developing presentations for the targeted potential customers. Dedicated contents (scientific notes, application notes, youtube videos) have been uploaded in the Cherry Biotech website. Written contents have been produced exploiting the Google search engine optimization (SEO). The online content has been promoted though social media (Twitter, Facebook, Researchgate, Linkedin). In order to more accurately target potential end-users/buyers a list was prepared, for both platforms, at the early beginning of the project, identifying potential actors that could be interested in these new technologies. Specific software tools to measure the impact (time spent/page, recurrent visits, total browsing time, ...) of the dissemination strategies (web, emailing campaigns) were applied and used to eventually change the value proposition of the new product. IP protection and freedom to operate surveillance studies have been carried out during the project.