Tessara Therapeutics and NETRI in new organ-on-chip collaboration

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Tessara Therapeutics and NETRI have announced a collaboration to develop a family of next-generation organ-on-chip models for neurological disease.

The new models will combine Tessara’s RealBrain 3D neural micro-tissues with NETRI’s NeoBento microfluidic platform.

The companies said this combination will enable the investigation of normal and disease states in a high-throughput, multi-tissue interconnected architecture that incorporates 3D micro-tissues with heterogeneous cell populations and functional neural networks.

RealBrain micro-tissues combine high biological complexity in a model that is also scalable and reproducible. Automated production of RealBrain micro-tissues starts with encapsulation of human neural precursor cells in Tessara’s biomaterials, followed by only three weeks of in vitro development in a single culture medium.

The resulting micro-tissues have intrinsic optical clarity and contain heterogenous populations of neurons and glia, with mature, functional neural networks supported by cell-secreted extracellular matrix.

RealBrain models include the ArtiBrain model of normal brain tissue and the ADBrain model of Alzheimer’s disease.

Preclinical in vitro assays based on conventional techniques are not able to reproduce the complexity of human neurodegenerative diseases, leading to a significant failure rate in clinical trials of innovative treatments.

Based on an ongoing momentum of high adoption of alternative to animal models, NETRI has developed a potentially disruptive approach using organs-on-chip technologies particularly suited for long-term culture of neuronal 3D organoids and co-culture of neural and non-neural cells.

CEO Dr Christos Papadimitriou said, “Tessara is excited to collaborate with NETRI and combine our deep insights in neuroscience, 3D cell-based assays and biomaterials with the unique potential of their microfluidic platform. With commercialisation of the RealBrain platform, Tessara aims to create a new 'gold standard' for neurological drug screening.  We very much look forward to joining forces with NETRI to maximise the impact of both our companies’ platforms.”

NETRI CEO Dr Thibault Honegger added, “We are currently observing a rising market traction from the pharmaceutical industrial for organs on chip that combine both high-throughput compatibility to maximize predictability of our models but also high relevance using human-derived models. This collaboration will certainly open the route to address the market needs thanks to NETRI’s NeoBento neurofluidics and multifluidics products for repeatable assays and Tessara’s RealBrain 3D cell culture for high relevancy. I believe such collaboration will expand possibilities of both companies and lead to faster, more reliable and more ethical preclinical trials.”