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Emulate Adds $36M to Expand “Organ Chip” Drug Research Technology

Xconomy Boston — 

Emulate, a Boston-based startup that has developed small laboratory chips intended to replace the animal tests used in pharmaceutical research, has raised $36 million in financing.

The Series C round of funding was led by Founders Fund. Also participating in the financing were new investors ALS Investment Fund, SciFi VC, and Glass Wall Syndicate, as well as several earlier investors.

The translucent Emulate chips, roughly the size of a AA battery, have tiny channels lined with human cells and tissue. These chips are engineered to recreate the physiology and mechanical forces encountered by the cells of an organ, such as the flow of blood or air. Emulate has developed organ chips for the liver, intestine, lung, and the brain. Those chips are part of a broader system that includes instruments for conducting experiments and software to analyze data and model different diseases.

Emulate says the financing will be used to develop new functions for its chips and to bolster its commercialization efforts. Companies currently using Emulate’s technology include AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN), Roche, Takeda Pharmaceutical, and Merck (NYSE: MRK). They are using the technology to help them better predict the safety and efficacy of their drug candidates. Last year, Emulate also started a three-year research and development partnership with the FDA to evaluate how well the chips work in predicting how an organ will respond to chemical exposure from food, cosmetics, and dietary supplements.

The Emulate technology was licensed from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. Here’s more on Emulate’s origins and the applications of its organ chip technology.

Photo by Emulate