Last week, the Boston Globe reported biomedical startup Emulate secured new capital in its latest funding round. Although the company didn’t disclose how much money it received, it did reveal the Founders Fund (Facebook), Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, and Blue Ivy Ventures contributed to its new cash injection. The company announced it would use its newfound financial resources to expand its suite of innovative medical testing tools.
Emulate’s Organ on Chips
Emulate’s goal is to provide a new way for scientists to test how chemicals, foods, and medications will interact with the human body. The startup has developed a technology stack that lets clinicians perform in-depth research without animal subjects or Petri dishes.
The firm’s process begins when a scientist inserts human blood into a flexible chip that replicates the dynamic cellular microenvironment. Using Emulate’s system, clinicians can run tests gauging how new substances would operate in the liver, intestine, or kidney. The company’s biomedical kits let users control precise dosage levels and nutrient flows, which provide researchers with granulated data.
The startup notes its process represents an evolution of traditional medical testing. By marrying cutting edge biomedical hardware and software, the company’s solution looks to produce research information that is more accurate than animal testing or cell cultures.
The firm has also managed to advance its technology significantly within a short time. Last year, Emulate only offered a bio kit that let users mimic the functions of the liver. Now its product lineup features chips that can emulate the workings of the kidneys and intestine.
Emulate’s Early Success and New Products
Although Emulate’s platform sounds like something out of science-fiction, its technology is very real – and lucrative.
In 2019, the company made its offerings available commercially for the first time. Since then, the firm has built an impressive client list, including the U.S. Army, ten multinational biomedical companies, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Accordingly, the firm has already generated revenue from its human emulation system.
It’s also forged relationships with the leading lights in the pharmaceutical industry, including Merck & Co. and Johnson & Johnson.
Emulate told Boston Globe it would use its new funding to develop new bio kits, including one that mimics the brain. The firm also wants to expand its platform so it can explore the function of illnesses like COVID-19.
“There are still many aspects of this novel virus that are not understood, so the chips could potentially uncover new insights into the virus,” said Emulate president Geraldine Hamilton. “We are in the early stages of exploring how the technology could help.”
As the coronavirus pandemic revealed the need for new and more efficient testing methodologies, Emulate shouldn’t lack for new business.