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A beating Heart-on-Chip for pre-clinical early detection of drugs cardiac safety

Project description

A revolutionary organ on a chip will deliver drug toxicity results in a heartbeat

Drug development is a time-consuming and expensive process involving, among other things, testing for potential unanticipated side effects. Many safety-related drug withdrawals are due to cardiotoxicity. Given the potentially catastrophic consequences of cardiac side effects, evaluating cardiac safety is critical yet remains a major hurdle in drug development. As the pharmaceutical industry seeks alternatives to animal testing, the Italian SME BiomimX has a powerful solution. Integrating 3D cell culture and mechanical stimulation, the company has developed a beating heart on a chip able to respond to drugs much as a human heart would do for rapid toxicity screening very early in the drug pipeline. The EU-funded uHeart project is laying the groundwork to make it commercially available.


The cost to develop new drugs is huge, mainly due to the failure rate in the drug discovery process. Current in vitro models
are too simplistic, owing to limited prediction of systemic side-effects of molecules, e.g. cardiotoxicity. On the other hand, in
vivo models, far more complex, provide responses to drugs often different from those found in humans.
Furthermore, recent legislation about 3R principle (i.e. Directive 2010/63/EU) is encouraging Pharma industry towards the
search for methods alternative to animal testing. In this scenario, the demand for innovative in vitro tools able to predict
cardiotoxicity already in the pre-clinical phase is urgent. To address this need BiomimX is developing uHeart. uHeart is a
miniaturized model of human heart, responding to drugs likewise the natural heart. Our patented technologies allow the
generation of fully-mature cardiac tissues, providing 3D cardiac cells with a mechanical training resembling the heart
beating. uHeart is the only tool currently available featuring such a high level of specificity in replicating heart responses, and
thanks to its micrometer scale it comes with a huge saving in terms of costs and analysis time. BiomimX is currently
validating uHeart as a predictor of cardiac drug safety in early stages of the pre-clinical phase. BiomimX targets the market
of Pharma and CRO that will use uHeart as innovative tool to screen the cardiotoxicity of putative new molecules, saving
time and money for drug development. Thanks to this innovation project, BiomimX will complete both technical and freedom
to operate analyses for uHeart. In the meanwhile, a roll-out phase will be carried out with ten potential customers. At the end
of Phase I, uHeart is expected to reach a TRL7. A refined business plan will allow BiomimX to negotiate a round A
investment, estimated around 2.5M€, pivotal to launch uHeart on the market of Pharma within the next three years.

Call for proposal


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Sub call



Net EU contribution
€ 50 000,00
Via giovanni durando 38/a
20158 Milano

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The organization defined itself as SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) at the time the Grant Agreement was signed.

Nord-Ovest Lombardia Milano
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Other funding
€ 21 429,00