Our Strategic Partnership with AstraZeneca

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AstraZeneca is the first pharmaceutical company to embed the Human Emulation System in its laboratories

It was in 2013 — before we formed as a company — that our scientists began working with researchers from AstraZeneca. Now, more than five years later, we have announced a strategic partnership with our long-time collaborator that will make AstraZeneca the first pharmaceutical company to embed our Human Emulation System within their laboratories. This announcement marks a significant milestone for both organizations as we work together to gain new insights into disease mechanisms using our Organs-on-Chips technology.

As part of this agreement, both organizations will exchange scientists, co-locating them in our headquarters in Boston and in AstraZeneca’s IMED Biotech Unit in Cambridge, England. These exchanges will help us pursue our approach of optimizing our system through real-world collaborative research with a leader in the pharmaceutical industry.

Moreover, as we continue to grow and develop, this agreement provides a model for how a major pharmaceutical company — one that was named the most innovative pharma on the planet this year — can adopt and embed our technology into their laboratories and workflows and use it to improve the process of drug development.

This partnership is an example of how we can progress towards our goal of increasing the success of drug discovery and development by providing a platform that recreates human-relevant biology.

Mene Pangalos, Executive Vice-President of AstraZeneca’s IMED Biotech Unit and Global Business Development said: “Organs-on-Chips technology has the potential to enhance and accelerate our ability to translate science into innovative medicines for patients.

“Working side by side with Emulate scientists will enable us to better develop the platform and may improve our ability to predict adverse and non-adverse effects in humans.”

Agreement Details

An initial focus of the partnership will be to use our Liver-Chip for safety testing of drug candidates across AstraZeneca’s pipeline, and we hope to submit Organ-Chip data as part of an investigational new drug application.

The partnership will also work to develop functionality of three other Emulate Organ-Chips — Alveolus Lung-Chip, Lung Tumor-Chip, and Glomerulus Kidney-Chip. These are being developed to deliver new insights into human disease mechanisms to better predict drug efficacy with enhanced clinical relevance, and their adoption aligns with AstraZeneca’s commitment to the replacement, reduction, and refinement of their use of animal models.

And as our work relates to the use of animals in research, Dr. Lorna Ewart, Head of the Microphysiological Systems Centre of Excellence at AstraZeneca, has recently authored a post on the topic on the blog of the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement, & Reduction of Animals in Research.

Further Reading

— Our Press Release
— Dr. Lorna Ewart’s Blog Post