Scott Murphy AVG Blog June 12, 2020

Changing the Paradigm of Drug Development

Emulate’s “organ-on-a-chip” technology allows researchers to mimic human physiology.



Emulate: Changing the Paradigm of Drug Development

June 12, 2020 | Scott Murphy

The core challenge of drug discovery is transitioning from a lab setting to real-world applications. While cell cultures and animal-based testing are crucial steps in developing new therapeutics, they can’t fully predict how human patients will respond to the same treatment. 

Emulate, an Alumni Ventures Group portfolio company, has developed organ-on-a-chip (OoC) technology for a variety of applications across the healthcare domain, including drug discovery. The company’s solutions allow researchers to more accurately mimic human physiology in clinical trials. 

 

Faster and More Accurate Drug Discovery

While the use of cell cultures and lab animals are standard in testing new drugs, neither method is predictive of a drug’s performance in clinical trials. Emulate has developed a Human Emulation System with OoC technology, hardware, and apps, which replicate specific human organs and their natural functions. This allows researchers to test drugs more quickly and accurately and better understand how humans might respond to medicines, chemicals, and foods. 

The Human Emulation System is a scalable solution that can integrate into existing workflows along the drug development value chain. Models on the market or in development include chips mimicking the liver, kidney, duodenum, colon, and skin, all enabled with well-validated protocols and reference data for researchers. Emulate also offers various kits that allow researchers to develop their own models.

In response to COVID-19, Emulate has launched a Virtual Support Program to continue education, training, and technical support during the pandemic. This includes on-call field engineers to provide remote training and support for clients, as well as a webinar series focusing on different aspects of OoC technology.

 

Leadership Team with Deep Industry Experience

Emulate is led by a seasoned founding team and C-suite uniquely qualified to advance its industry-leading solutions. CEO Jim Corbett has held numerous executive roles at healthcare and life science companies, while President and Chief Scientific Officer Geraldine Hamilton previously managed drug discovery teams before joining the Wyss Institute at Harvard University as Lead Senior Staff Scientist. The company has also appointed an expert Scientific Advisory Board chaired by Donald Ingber, Founding Director of the Wyss Institute and Professor of Vascular Biology at Harvard Medical School and the Vascular Biology Program at Boston Children’s Hospital. 

Ingber holds five degrees from Yale University, providing a natural connection with the team at Blue Ivy Ventures (AVG’s fund for the Yale community). Blue Ivy’s Principal contacted Don to learn more about his background and the possibility of working with Emulate. Ingber then introduced the team to Emulate to discuss an allocation in a round led by Northpond Ventures, with participation from Danaher and Founders Fund. 

Blue Ivy led AVG’s $2M investment in the round, along with AVG’s Congress Avenue Ventures (for the UTexas community), Total Access Fund, and with AVG’s investor syndicate.



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