It was a great pleasure to be invited (thanks to our partner Molecular Devices) to present our work during these 2 events organized by selectBio in Rotterdam:

Both were of great interest for us, because the speakers came from all over Europe, also from the United States and Japan. This allowed us to have an overview of the state-of-the art on these different topics.

We were really surprised that ULA plates (without microenvironment) and Matrigel® (often criticized because of lot-to-lot variation and cancer origin) are still widely used as 3D cell culture systems. Having used BIOMIMESYS® technology for 2 years now, we are really impressed by the modifications in cells’ behavior with small changes of their microenvironnement.

James Hickman, from the University of Central Florida in USA, has shown that modifying the coating of cell culture in 2D systems changes the cell reaction based on electric activity, muscle contraction or functional activity. Based on these first results, he has developed a human-on-a-chip system to do PB-PK analysis. Silvia Scaglione, from a laboratory of tissue engineering in Italy, has shown that adding different concentrations of alginate in the Matrigel® changes the responses of neuroblastoma cell line to IFN-gamma treatment.

Many researchers are now working on organ-on-a-chip systems, from the simplest one to more complex designs:

  • Fluidic channels with a balanced system, without any pump to increase the throughput, as done by MIMETAS or Insphero
  • More commonly, 2D or 3D cell culture in BioCHIPs with the flow going directly to the cells and then connecting the different Organs-on-chip to go to human-on-a-chip, as done by TissUse
  • Development of vessels-on-a-chip and then organ-on-a-chip by using vessels for the microfluidic systems as done by Andries Van der Meer from University of Twente in the Netherlands, Guohao Dai from Northeastern University in USA or Yan Yan Shery Huang from University of Cambridge. In this case, to design blood vessels with a circular and not a rectangular cross section, some of them used bioprinting technology.

The biochip tubing can be long and the biochip can be complex, with several channels to create gas or compound gradients, as shown by Steven George from the University of California in a cancer-on-a-chip, or by Thomas Laurell from Lund University in Sweden on neural-tube formation in BioChip.

Many studies are performed on 3D organoids systems and microfluidic technologies. These two new technologies converge, allowing to develop new relevant cell culture systems.

In HCS Pharma, our philosophy is to first get a relevant 3D organoid culture with all cell types embedded in their appropriate microenvironnement with BIOMIMESYS® technology, before including this 3D organoid in BioCHIP systems. In this endeavour, we are already working with Cécile Legallais from UTC on a liver-biochip, and with Fabrice Soncin from SMILL-E group, and Anthony Treizebre from IEMN on biochips for angiogenesis-related study!


Grégory MAUBON

Grégory MAUBON is Chief Data Officer and digital coordinator at HCS Pharma, a biotech startup focused in high content screening and complex diseases. He manages IT missions and leads digital usages linked to company needs. He is also a Augmented Reality Evangelist (presenter and lecturer) since 2008, where he created www.augmented-reality.fr and founded in 2010 RA'pro (the augmented reality promotion association). He helped many companies (in several domains) to define precisely their augmented reality needs and supported them in the implementation.

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