Emulate raises $28 million for organ-on-chip technology
- Cambridge-based Emulate, a spin-out from Harvard's Wyss Institute, raised $28 million in Series B financing for continued development of its "organ-on-chip" technology, which can recreate various diseases for preclinical R&D.
- The new financing brings Emulate's total funding raised up to $40 million in the two years since its founding in 2014. Several new investors joined including the nonprofit ALS Finding a Cure and the venture companies OS Fund and Atel Ventures.
- Emulate's technology aims to simulate human organs by putting human cells on micro-engineered chips. The company hopes these "organs-on-chips" will make it easier for researchers to do preclinical testing before human trials.
The goal is to make the preclinical process more efficient by replicating disease in simulated organs developed from human cells in a way which easily fits into the R&D workflow. The new money will help Emulate move its technology into commercial stages, in what it calls a "human emulation system." The system will include the organ-on-chip tech, along with the relevant hardware and software so users can quickly get started with the technology.
Additionally, Emulate hopes to further develop its products to simulate more complex organs like the kidney, heart, and brain. Its current portfolio includes the lung, liver, intestine, and skin.
"In addition to evolving with greater accessibility as a plug-and-play system to be used by any researcher, our system is growing in functionality to include additional Organ-Chips as well as disease-state applications in core areas of Emulate’s research focus— including neurodegenerative diseases, oncology and the microbiome," said Geraldine Hamilton, chief science officer at Emulate.
Emulate currently has partnerships with Merck and Johnson & Johnson. In its collaboration with Merck, the companies are using lung and intestine organ-chips to model inflammatory diseases. The partnership with J&J, on the other hand, is working to evaluate drugs for the treatment of thombosis.
Emulate recently moved into a new 20,000 square-foot space in Cambridge in Boston's Seaport District. The company also plans to expand its workforce, from the current 40 employees to 85 by year end, according to Xconomy.