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What is the best business model for your organ-on-a-chip?

April 25 2017

Organ-on-a-chip (OOC) technologies are quickly taking a central position in the drug discovery and development process. The spectacular forecasted growth of ~70% (CAGR) in the coming ten years reaching a market size of $6 billion in 2025 illustrates the potential of OOCs. They are especially valuable for the study of molecular mechanisms of action, prioritisation of lead candidates, toxicity testing and biomarker identification. However, as new kids on the block, companies that offer OOCs are still seeking the ultimate answer to the question: what is the best business model to capture the value of OOCs?

True-to-Life Human Emulation for R&D

Organs-on-a-chip (OOCs) are elegant microfluidic cell culture devices at the size of a USB-stick. The devices contain multiple human cell types, which are (co)cultured in a technologically controlled microenvironment. The human body or an aspect of it (i.e. morphology, movement, flow, electrical stimuli and liquid gradients) is artificially mimicked in a highly delicate and tailored manner. OOCs enable high-resolution, real-time imaging and in vitro analysis of biochemical, genetic and metabolic activities of living cells in a functional tissue and organ context. These devices produce levels of tissue and organ functionality not possible with conventional 2D or 3D culture systems. This fuels the exponential increase of the use of OOCs in drug development.

OOCs have the potential to play a transformative role across drug discovery and development

The pharmaceutical industry is under huge pressure to address the high attrition rates in drug development. Improving the effectiveness of preclinical predictions of human drug responses is critical to reduce costly failures in clinical trials. Figure 1 visualises what roles OOCs can have in different stages of the drug development process, thereby streamlining the value chain. Summarising, the most promising advantage of OOC devices is that the devices can mimic both animal and human metabolism and predict differences between them. This will allow for a higher level of accuracy when predicting the outcome of clinical trials. Moreover, any toxicity observed before human trials with in-vitro on-chip systems can prevent unsuitable drug candidates from entering this expensive phase. The ability to cut drug development costs drastically are a key driver for the expected spectacular CAGR of around 69.4% over the next decade and the market reach approximately $6.13 billion in 2025. Moreover, this market research report also highlighted that we are on the verge of wide adoption of this technology in preclinical development (and earlier).

A multitude of European companies (>5) is eagerly trying to become a market leader in this exciting field. Who eventually will finish first will not only depend on having a winning technology but also on smart business model design.

Visualisation of added value of OOCs to the drug value chain.

Figure 1. Visualisation of added value of OOCs to the drug value chain.

Download full article

Download the complete document, and read about:

  • How to pick your OOC business model (stand-alone products or in-house services): different aspects (such as stage of drug development, complexity of the model and more) are analysed to help you decide which business model fits you best;
  • Strategies for commercialisation of your OOC product;
  • Temporary needs for specific OOCs add challenge for picking the right business model.
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