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An innovative supplier of 3D cell-based platforms for drug discovery and efficacy testing, InSphero raised an additional $10m in funding bringing the gross funding to USD$35m till date. Sponsor included previous GM of Promega Switzerland Dr. Jürg Gysi, who is currently the President of the InSphero Board of Directors and an investor in this round also added, “Over the past several years, InSphero has created tangible benefits for pharma and biotech companies worldwide. This secured funding will support the company’s continuing growth, which was exceeding 40% in the second half of 2017 alone.”
The Zurich-based Swiss company intends to utilize the funds for further improvements in its R&D for metabolic diseases and cancer. InSphero offers a broad range of solutions for preclinical drug safety and efficacy testing based on 3D microtissues, which are phenotypic models of the smallest functional unit of a tissue or organ. These drug-discovery and testing platforms combine scalable 3D technology, ISO quality-controlled 3D human tissue models, 3D-optimized media, as well as tailored assay services and support. Drug-discovery partners immediately gain access to the depth and breadth of InSphero’s experience in developing and applying 3D models for liver toxicology, metabolic diseases, and oncology.
Led by CEO and co-founder Dr. Jan Lichtenberg, a recent milestone set for the startup was the linking of different 3D microtissues through a unique microfluidic organ-on-a-chip technology that enables researchers to better understand how drugs affect the human body as a whole. The technology is used in ongoing research collaborations with academic and industry partners, such as Roche Pharmaceuticals in Basel and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH). The technology, baptized Akura Flow, promises to transform drug discovery and development, with the potential to make animal testing in pharma and cosmetic companies obsolete.
To this the CEO of the biotechnology firm added,“This funding will enable us to complete our transition from a supplier to a partner, offering our customers the full value of our 3D technology and knowledge of applied 3D disease modeling—whether they need a complex custom model, a body-on-a-chip system, or an experienced collaborator for a long-term, joint discovery project.”
InSphero has received ongoing fundraising support from Venturelab, which has nurtured their evolution from a Swiss start-up to a global biotechnology leader, with customers from all top ten pharmaceutical companies.