Lena Biosciences technologies and intellectual property assets have been recognized through prestigious grant awards totaling over $2.5 M in funding provided by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the commercialization support grants awarded by the Georgia Research Alliance (Venture Lab).
The first small business innovation research two-year grant, 2009-2011, awarded by the National Institutes of Health to Lena Biosciences provided research and development support that led to development of a microperfused tissue platform in a 6-well throughput, shown in Fig. 1 below, and a microperfused multi-electrode array recording chamber for brain slices and 3D cultures, exhibited in Fig. 2 below.
Fig. 1 Microperfused tissue platform (2010), a predecessor of present day organ-on-a-chip
The microperfused tissue platform, developed in 2010 by Lena Biosciences, based on the U.S. Patent No. 7,855,070, was a predecessor of a present-day organ-on-a-chip. The development of an organ-on-a-chip was later supported by major government initiatives in 2012-2014 that provided grant awards to universities across the United States, and subsequently, the micro-physiological organ systems initiatives in 2014-2017 which led to developments of connected organs.
Fig. 2 Microperfused MEA recording chamber (2011) for long-term functional activity recordings from tissue slices and functional 3D cultures
The microperfused multi-electrode array (MEA) recording chamber, another organ-on-a-chip like device, developed in 2011 by Lena Biosciences, served to extend the viability of brain slice explants for long-term functional activity recordings. The results were published in Frontiers in Neuroscience: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4815559/
Later funding by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation small business research grants produced the intellectual property and led to development and commercialization of several Lena Biosciences’ products that are available to scientists today. This includes the 3D cell culture scaffold SeedEZ and the 3D cell migration platform GradientEZ that are covered by the U.S. Patent No. 9,334,473, and the organ-on-a-chip insert system PerfusionPal that is covered by U.S. Patent No. 9,701,938.
Through its research and development journey till today, Lena Biosciences, continues to collaborate, provide, and receive sub-awards to/from several universities in the United States and the United Kingdom, including the Georgia Institute of Technology, the Emory University, University of Leeds etc., as well as non-profit and for-profit commercial institutions here and abroad. These activities serve to raise the awareness, disseminate and broaden the use of human cells in culture in a physiologically relevant, human-organ-in vitro context, in preclinical testing in vitro.
With its imminent commercialization of a 48-well system, Lena Biosciences, aims to provide scientists with a patient-on-a-chip platform. “Think about 8 rows and 6 columns in our new device. They can accommodate eight patients with six major organ system for on-target efficacy and off-target toxicity testing using a patient’s own cells,” explains Lena Biosciences CEO, Jelena Vukasinovic.
“We know today that each cancer is patient-specific and that often the primary tumor and its metastasis need to be treated differently. The aim of our patient-on-a-chip platform is to have a vascularized patient’s cancer and one metastasis for efficacy testing of cancer drugs, and then four other major organ systems such as liver, kidney, brain or lung for off-target toxicity testing of such cancer therapies using patient-derived cells. With 48 wells, we can do that in replicates of eight, with 4 tests and 4 controls in a single plate, to ensure that we are selecting the best therapies for patients.”
“The timing is right,” adds Lena Biosciences, CEO, “Patients are aware that precision therapies may provide a better treatment option than can conventional therapies. We are here to support that and Lena Biosciences is actively seeking funding and partnerships with cancer centers and contract research organizations to apply its products and services in this context.”