April 02, 2018
Largely predicted to revolutionize the drug development industry, organs-on-chips market is quickly gaining reputation as a profitable niche vertical of the electronics space. The need to save billions of dollars on drug testing and time spent on preclinical and clinical testing is indeed rather urgent as on today. Ironically, only 27% of the drugs that make it to the clinical testing stage get approval to be released in the market, while others fail either due to lack of efficacy or toxicity. This scenario has created an even more favorable ground for organs-on-chips market, as the technology has proved to be promising for the early validation of drug efficacy. In this regard, the competitive scenario of organs-on-chips market comprises different stakeholders such as engineers, regulatory scientists, biologists and pharmaceutical researchers.
The advancement of cell biology, microfluidics, and microfabrication that have allowed the emulation of the human micro environment in vitro has been instrumental in propelling Organs-on-Chips Market. Inclusive of lungs, heart, liver, kidney, brain, intestine and other human organs, these chips have been used to the advantage of drug development. More importantly, they are used for the observation of how any human body part will react to the introduction of a new or foreign element. For instance, professors of biomedical engineering at the University of Southern California have used hearts-on-chips to model the Barth syndrome to study the conditions of this inherited disorder that is associated with the weakening of the heart muscles. According to experts, organs-on-chips market will witness tremendous new developments due to the technology’s impact on disease modelling. By emulating diseases, especially inherited diseases on organs-on-chips, biologists can make significant progress in finding a cure for these diseases.
Another instance reiterating the significance of these products is when the bio engineering professors at the University of Pennsylvania created an eye-on-a-chip that blinks. It is in fact, being used to mimic and test certain chronic eye diseases like dry eye disease. It is also being used to develop drugs related to eye diseases and to optimize the functions and effects of contact lenses. The US Food and Drug Administration is also testing the effect of food and food additives on the human body using organs-on-chips. Indeed, organs-on-chips market is registering a robust progress not only in drug testing and development but also in testing how individual organs will react to different kinds of food, dietary supplements and cosmetics.
The growth of the organs-on-chips industry will also mean a reduction and ultimate elimination of animal testing. Animal testing has often been considered as unethical besides being ineffective, expensive and time consuming. With biologists and bioengineers developing lungs-on-chips that can inhale a cigarette, there will be eventually no need to force mice to inhale cigarette smoke. The cosmetics industry had also been long burdened with a means of finding an alternative to animal testing. With the possible development of skin-on-chips, such a solution may not be too far into the future. Thus, the development of the organs-on-chips industry will not only benefit drug developers but will also put an end to the battle that animal right activists have been waging for a long time against animal testing.
It is prudent to mention that organs-on-chips market has not yet been completely commercialized and is greatly dependent on government grants. NCATS for instance, secured $13.5 million for the next phase of Tissue Chip for Drug Screening Program. Most of the players in organs-on-chips industry are university spinoffs that are still involved in the commercialization of organs-on-chips prototypes. Examples of such spinoffs are Emulate, TissUse, Nortis, InSphero and CN Bio. Emulate in fact, recently secured $45 million on its path to commercialization of organs-on-chips.
It is anticipated that the commercialization potential of organs-on-chips industry will soon reach fruition. The estimation is highly based on the fact that the value propositions these products offer to pharmaceutical companies is very strong in terms of clinical trial failure rate reduction and elimination of animal testing reliance. The ultimate aim of this business space is to create an integrated human-on-chips that will revolutionize the world of drug discovery and personalized medicine, breaking an impasse in the vitro development. Despite the pharmaceuticals and healthcare industry being at a nascent stage as of now, the future prospects of organs-on-chips market are forecast to be inordinately bright.