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Miniaturised optically accessible bioreactor for drug discovery and biological research

Objective

The problem that we address is that the pharmaceutical companies do not develop radically new drugs anymore, because the development process lasts ten years and costs around one billion euro. Development of a new drug is subjected to regulatory approvals following three demonstrations: lab discovery in vitro, animal testing in vivo and clinical trial on patients. This process has 99.9% overall failure, of which 96.4% because the drug efficacy measured in vitro is not confirmed in animals. In fact, the most widespread technology used to test therapeutic agents in vitro, a flat culture dish in which single cell populations are cultured and the drug to be tested is added to the culture, is obsolete. In many pathologies such as cancer and neurodegeneration, in vivo response to drugs is based on complex interactions, occurring in three-dimensions (3D) between several cell populations. To solve this problem, in the context of an ERC consolidator grant (CoG) that I currently lead, I integrated a novel nano-patterned 3D substrate for stem cell culture, called the “nichoid”, into an existing miniaturised optically accessible bioreactor (MOAB). The MOAB allows to culture 3D organoids of few millimetres in size, under continuous perfusion of the culture medium, infusion of the drug to be tested and diagnostics of cell response both in real time and also post-cultivation. Both the original inventions (the nichoid and the MOAB) are covered by Italian patents originated in the frame of the CoG project and already extended as PCT. The goal of this PoC proposal is to perform a technical and commercial feasibility to move to the market the MOAB device integrating the nichoid-patterned substrate. I will characterize the fluid-dynamics of the bioreactor chamber that has been modified to accommodate the nichoid substrate. Also, I will set a market assessment and an actionable IPR strategy with identification of a suitable exploitation strategy for valorising the patent/know how.

Field of science

  • /social sciences/economics and business/business and management/commerce
  • /medical and health sciences/basic medicine/pathology
  • /medical and health sciences/medical biotechnology/cells technologies/stem cells
  • /engineering and technology/environmental biotechnology/bioremediation/bioreactor
  • /medical and health sciences/clinical medicine/oncology/cancer

Call for proposal

ERC-2018-PoC
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

ERC-POC - Proof of Concept Grant

Host institution

POLITECNICO DI MILANO
Address
Piazza Leonardo Da Vinci 32
20133 Milano
Italy
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 105 000

Beneficiaries (2)

POLITECNICO DI MILANO
Italy
EU contribution
€ 105 000
Address
Piazza Leonardo Da Vinci 32
20133 Milano
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
UNIVERSITA' DEGLI STUDI DI BERGAMO
Italy
EU contribution
€ 45 000
Address
Via Salvecchio 19
24129 Bergamo
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments