New Consortium on NASH Pilots Organ Function-on-a-Chip

15 February 2016 – InvitroCue Pte Ltd (“IVQ” Singapore), together with TNO (the Netherlands), and Takara Bio Europe AB (Sweden), recently signed an Agreement under which they started a collaboration using different technologies to develop a model of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). This collaborative project is part of TNO’s Early Research Program ‘Organ on-a-chip’, for which they received funding from the Dutch Government.

NASH is a type of fatty liver disease, which mainly affects people with diabetes and obesity and is seen as one of the major societal and economic problems in healthcare. The number of NASH patients and committed healthcare costs increased four-fold in the last 15 years. Analysts now forecast that the market for NASH treatments could reach $35 to $40 Billion by Year 2025. Concomitant herewith, is an increasing demand for better predictive NASH preclinical model.

This two-year collaboration project aims to deliver a predictive translational in vitro model in which the effect of potential new medicines for NASH can be evaluated. These so-called Organ function on-a-chip models are advanced in vitro models that closely resemble the structural tissue arrangements and functional complexity of living organs and tissues by using human cells (co-)cultured in 3D environment and/or using microfluidic chips. Currently most of organ on-a-chip applications are used for testing toxicity of compounds. Here the focus is on efficacy and the introduction of human stem cells opens approaches toward precision medicine and population on-a-chip applications.

IVQ has a notable track record in 3D-scaffolds through its participation with pharmaceutical and development projects, as well as DMPK in vitro analysis on liver drug compounds. IVQ will use its extensive know-how gained through its considerable experience in the 3D-scaffold models and its track record in preclinical pharmaceutical drug screening to contribute to the successful development and operation of Consortium. The in vitro preclinical models represent one of the primary focuses of IVQ’s business, and IVQ will continue to strive to develop predictive preclinical models and assays in this area.

“IVQ is honored to be a part of this tripartite consortium. We are now in a position to diversify and translate our 3D-scaffolds into other areas where we can develop new models for pharmaceutical companies where there is a large opportunity and an unmet medical need in developing drugs against NASH,” said Dr. Abhishek Ananthanarayanan, Director of Scientific Development of IVQ.

TNO provides unique knowledge and expertise regarding in vivo models of NASH, pathways and the etiology of disease. TNO’s system biology approach and the data integration from in vivo models as well as human data will contribute to the translation to human disease development and effect of NASH treatments.

“The expertise of the three founding partners IVQ, Takara Bio Europe and TNO fit seamlessly together in this project which is part of the TNO Early Research Program on organ on-a-chip”, said Senior Business Development Manager Dr. Robert Ostendorf of TNO. “Together we will develop better predictive pre-clinical in vitro models for liver diseases to begin with NASH.”

Takara Bio Europe will contribute with their unique knowledge and expertise on 3D-culture systems and application/ differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells into hepatocytes.

The Consortium is a global partnership that employs three different companies sharing their technologies and expertise, which will deliver novel applicable models for testing potential new medicines in liver disease and liver toxicity issues. The NASH project contributes to the aim of replacement, reduction and refinement of animal studies.

A Dutch version was announced on TNO website (the most renowned research organization in the Netherlands).


About InvitroCue


InvitroCue provides innovative products and services in the fields of in-vitro DMPK, in-vitro toxicology and digital pathology utilizing cell-based models and image analytics. InvitroCue’s technologies have been developed and validated together with leading pharmaceutical companies and scientific collaborators. The company uses in-vitro technologies and assays to support better decision-making in preclinical drug studies and clinical research. Headquartered in Singapore and was spun out of Singapore, Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), InvitroCue currently operates in Singapore and China.

InvitroCue is listed on Australian Stock Exchange under ASX code “IVQ”.


For more information, please contact:


InvitroCue Limited

Yip Ai San, VP Corporate Development

11 Biopolis Way, Helios


Singapore 138667