Trained in human biology and medicine, Dr. Uwe Marx is an accomplished entrepreneur and the scientific founder of TissUse, a spin-off of the Institute of Biotechnology of the Technische Universität Berlin, Germany. Over the course of his fruitful career in biotechnology, Uwe has pursued ever more lifelike structures that can mimic human biology in vitro. Prior to founding TissUse, he was responsible for the “Multi-Organ-Chip” program at the University and was the scientific co-founder at two successful Germany-based biotechs, ProBioGen AG and VITA 34.


Title: From Organ-on-a-Chip Tools Towards Patients on Chips – Enforcing a Paradigm Shift in Drug Development

Microfluidic microphysiological systems (MPS) have proven to be a powerful tool for recreating human tissue- and organ-like functions at research level. This provides the basis for the establishment of qualified preclinical assays with improved predictive power. Industrial adoption of microphysiological systems and respective assays is progressing slowly due to their complexity. In the first part of the presentation status quo of MPS development and examples of industrial adoption of single-organ chip and two-organ chip solutions are highlighted. The underlying universal microfluidic Multi-Organ-Chip (MOC) platform of a size of a microscopic slide integrating an on-chip micro-pump and capable to interconnect different organ equivalents will be presented. Sixteen different single organ equivalents have been established on that platform and twelve organ combinations have been tested for stable long-term crosstalk yet.

The second part of the presentation focusses on the challenges to translate a MOC-based combination of four human organ equivalents into a commercially useful tool for ADME profiling and toxicity testing of drug candidates. This four-organ tissue chip combines intestine, liver and kidney equivalents for adsorption, metabolism and excretion respectively. Furthermore, it provides an additional neuronal tissue culture compartment for extended toxicity testing. Issues to ensure long-term performance and industrial acceptance of such complex microphysiological systems, such as design criteria, tissue supply and on chip tissue homeostasis will be discussed. Finally, the presentation provides a roadmap towards on-chip patient models, which bear the potential of a paradigm shift in drug development.