As of October 1st, 2021, FEMTOprint SA (“FEMTOprint”) and the NMI Natural and Medical Sciences Institute have started a consortium agreement under the framework of a European program Eurostars, to jointly develop a novel Brain-on-a-Chip (“BoC”) system that allows culturing, imaging, and recording of brain organoids from any source. NEUROCHIP will offer revolutionary translational power as the world’s first solution that enables robust assessment of neuronal activity in human-derived 3D brain organoids, empowering research and drug development for a wide range of neurological diseases.
"The cutting-edge FEMTOPRINT® technology combined with the superior properties of glass will add a major contribution to Organ-on-Chips development”, says Andrea Lovera, CSO of FEMTOprint, adding “Micrometric resolution combined with transparency of material increasingly require the adoption of FEMTOPRINT® technology in precision medicine".
Many diseases with severe impact and high incidence that cannot yet be treated are brain disorders. Poor success rates, long development times and high costs have pushed large pharma to reduce drug development efforts in neuroscience. This is caused by a lack of good models with reliable translational value that robustly mimic physiological conditions of the human brain. To fill this gap, human-derived 3D brain organoids are becoming state-of-the-art, as they mimic the complex physiology and structure of the human brain. However, current models fail to effectively allow electrophysiological recording, a crucial read-out for neuronal activity that is critical for the translational value of any brain model.
"A brain-relevant in vitro 3D system capable of assessing the efficacy or toxicity of substances by measuring neuronal activity is still missing,” says Paolo Cesare, leading the development team at NMI. “This is mainly because of the challenge of integrating a direct readout of electrical activity with millisecond resolution and high sensitivity. To fill this gap, we are implementing a novel microphysiological system that provides continuous, non-invasive electrophysiological readout of 3D neuronal networks. This is achieved by integrating different technologies, processes and materials to produce insulated microelectrodes that are able to measure the tiny electrical signals that propagate along the axons in 3D neuronal cultures."
The NEUROCHIP project will bring to the market the world’s first solution allowing functional analysis of neuronal activity in 3D brain organoids derived from human pluripotent stem cells. By delivering an unmatched translational power to preclinical research, it will propel drug development for various neurological disorders (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease), for which no cure or treatment is currently available.
The 3-year project has officially started on October 1st, 2021, and it is jointly funded by the European program Eurostars and Innosuisse, the Swiss Innovation Agency, under project E!115217 – NEUROCHIP.
Founded in 2013 in Muzzano (Switzerland), FEMTOprint SA is a high-tech Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization (CDMO), pioneer and market leader in high-precision 3D printing of glass microdevices.
The groundbreaking FEMTOPRINT® microfabrication platform offers laser-based 3D microfabrication, ablation, welding and polishing capabilities, enabling highly precise microsystems with optical surface grade in photonics, micro-optics, microfluidics, micromechanics, and microelectronics. Cutting-edge industries such as biotechnology, medical devices, diagnostics, watchmaking, automotive, aerospace, defense, semiconductors, and AR/VR are taking advantage of these exceptional capabilities to overcome miniaturization challenges in industrial manufacturing, adding product performances and reducing costs.
The microfabrication technology relies on a subtractive, 3D printing process based upon ultrafast laser exposure and wet etching development that enable truly free-form surface/volume definition in glass materials with a process resolution down to one micron.
The NMI is a member of the Innovation Alliance Baden-Württemberg. It is involved in application-oriented research at the interface between the life sciences and material science. An interdisciplinary team of scientists is developing new technologies for companies and public research sponsors in the areas of pharma and biotechnology, biomedical technology, and surface and materials technology. For further information, please contact:
FEMTOprint is ISO13485 certified and member of the Microfluidics Consortium MF13.
Eng. Rosanna Toscano
Business Developer Medtech
+41(0) 91 960 10 70
Dr. Andrea Lovera
Chief Science Officer
+41(0) 91 960 10 70
Dr. Paolo Cesare
Natural and Medical Sciences Institute
+49 (0) 7121 51530 826
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