Draper said today that it inked a 3-year collaboration deal with Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) to develop Draper’s microphysiological system technology. The ‘organ-on-a-chip’ system is designed to improve preclinical safety and model diseases more effectively.
The Cambridge, Mass.-based company’s miniature organ model enables researchers to measure tissue function and test potential new drug candidates. Draper and Pfizer will collaborate on 3 microphysiological systems – liver, vascular and gastrointestinal organs.
The models can be easily integrated with existing lab screening tools, according to the companies, and could 1 day help pharmaceutical companies by providing accurate results more efficiently than conventional methods.
“We’re engineering an environment that encourages cells to function in vitro as they would in specific human organs in vivo,” Draper Biomedical Solutions’ Joseph Charest said in prepared remarks. “We believe that the real value proposition of Draper’s technology is that, in addition to creating the optimal environment for cell function, our sensing technology measures the function of the cells directly and in real-time while our format ensures the system will scale to high levels of throughput.”
“If we’re successful, this technology may enable new patient therapies that are safer and more precisely tailored to a disease, a population or a specific patient,” Draper’s VP of commercial solutions Tara Clark added. “We hope to demonstrate that MPS technology has the potential to reduce risks and costs, and improve translation into the clinic.”
“We believe that utilizing Draper’s MPS technology has the potential to help us overcome 1 of the challenges of drug discovery, which is translation from in vitro to in vivo and from preclinical to clinical,” Pfizer’s VP of drug safety research & development John Burkhardt said. “Finding a more efficient way to bridge the translation gap would enable us to humanize the drug discovery process and reduce dependence on other 2-dimensional models, and ultimately to more quickly bring new medicines to patients who need them.”