Emulate Adds New Capabilities to Human Lung-Chip System for Evaluating Safety of Inhaled Products, Airborne Pollutants, and Patient-Specific Responses to Drugs

Results published in Cell Systems demonstrate the Lung-Chip’s new life-like ‘smoking’ component to evaluate the effects of smoke exposure and e-cigarettes in patients with chronic lung diseases

New product functionality within ‘Human Emulation System’ enabled by exclusive license from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University

BOSTON, Mass., October, 27, 2016 – Emulate Inc. announced today that its human Lung-Chip system has expanded functionality to now also model conditions in which inhaled toxins enter the lung, including cigarette smoke, e-cigarettes constituents, and potentially environmental airborne contaminants.  The new applications are based on results published online today in Cell Systems¹ led by the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, the academic source of Emulate’s founding team and fundamental technology.  Emulate has exclusively licensed the technology used in the study from the Wyss Institute at Harvard University for translation into commercial products, including the company’s ‘Human Emulation System.’

With the addition of this novel, life-like breathing functionality of inhaled toxins, our Lung-Chip products can now be used in a range of new ways by our collaborators and customers in the areas of product safety regulation, environmental regulation, and pharmaceutical drug development to improve human health and safety.
— Geraldine A. Hamilton, Ph.D., President & Chief Scientific Officer of Emulate

The expanded functionality of the Lung-Chip system is based on the addition of a life-like breathing ‘inhalation and exhalation’ component, enabling new research and insights into how non-smokers or patients with a chronic lung disease – such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – may respond to smoke or environmental pollutants. As demonstrated in the published study, using the Lung-Chip to compare human cells before and after exposure to an inhaled agent enables the effect of the agent to be isolated in a human-relevant system, with higher precision than conventional cell culture systems and better fidelity than animal models.

“With the addition of this novel, life-like breathing functionality of inhaled toxins, our Lung-Chip products can now be used in a range of new ways by our collaborators and customers in the areas of product safety regulation, environmental regulation, and pharmaceutical drug development to improve human health and safety,” said Geraldine A. Hamilton, Ph.D., President & Chief Scientific Officer of Emulate.

The new capability of Emulate’s Lung-Chip system to model the complex tissue functions of the lung’s small airways when exposed to inhaled toxins opens up expanded applications in toxicity testing for product safety and environmental pollutant assessment, as well as patient-specific drug response in chronic lung diseases. Potential new applications include:

  • Safety and risk assessment of new tobacco-related products, including e-cigarettes;

  • Safety evaluations of second-hand smoke or other inhaled environmental pollutants, including testing at-risk populations;

  • Mechanism of action data to guide improved product design and innovation for inhaled products;

  • Evaluation of cell types and genes that contribute to smoke-induced injury in normal lung, leading to identification of potential biomarkers and drug targets;

  • Assessment of safety and efficacy of drugs in specific and often high-risk patient populations who smoke or are exposed to other inhaled toxins.

The new results in Cell Systems build on Emulate’s previously published data with collaborators at Pfizer and Merck on the Small Airway Lung-Chip’s capabilities to model human inflammatory disorders, as well as effectively predicting human response to anti-inflammatory drugs.

> Download the Cell Systems publication

Emulate has developed specialized Lung-Chip products that recreate true-to-life functions of the human lung. Due to the distinct structure and biology of different parts of the lung and their differentiated role in disease processes, Emulate has developed a range of Lung-Chip products to enable human-relevant research related to lung diseases and various aspects of lung biology. The Alveolar Lung-Chip emulates the fundamental lung functions such as oxygen-exchange and absorption in the breathing human lung and has been used in a range of applications, including evaluation of nanoparticle absorption and toxicity, study of disease development and assessment of adverse drug effects, such as pulmonary edema and pulmonary thrombosis. The Small Airway Lung-Chip models a different aspect of lung biology, distinct from the alveolar air sacs. It recapitulates the physiology and function of the small airways that conduct inhaled air to the alveolar air sacs, and Emulate has demonstrated that the Small Airway Lung-Chip models inflammation and therapeutic responses in human small airway diseases, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

About the ‘Human Emulation System’ Powered by Organs-on-Chips Technology
Based on the Organs-on-Chips technology, Emulate has created a new living Human Emulation System™ that provides a real-time window into the inner workings of human biology and disease — offering researchers a new technology designed to predict human response with greater precision and detail than today’s cell culture or animal-based testing. Each of Emulate’s proprietary Organ-Chips — such as the lung, liver, brain or kidney — contains tiny hollow channels lined with tens of thousands of living human cells and tissues, and is approximately the size of an AA battery. An Organ-Chip is a living, micro-engineered environment that recreates the natural physiology and mechanical forces that cells experience within the human body.

About Emulate, Inc.
Emulate Inc. is a privately held company that creates living products for understanding how diseases, medicines, chemicals, and foods affect human health. Our Human Emulation System™ sets a new standard for recreating true-to-life human biology and is being used to advance product innovation, design, and safety across a range of applications including drug development, agriculture, cosmetics, food, and chemical-based consumer products. Emulate continues to develop a wide range of Organ-Chips and disease models through collaborations with industry partners and internal R&D programs. Emulate is also working with clinical partners to produce Organ-Chips personalized with an individual patient’s stem cells, for applications in precision medicine and personalized health. Our founding team pioneered the Organs-on-Chips technology at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. Emulate holds the worldwide exclusive license from Harvard University to a robust and broad intellectual property portfolio for the Organs-on-Chips technology and related systems.

¹ Benam, Kambez H., et al. “Matched-Comparative Modeling of Normal and Diseased Human Airway Responses Using a Microengineered Breathing Lung Chip.” Cell Systems, October 27, 2016. Advanced online publication.

> Link to review the Cell Systems publication