CN Bio is a leading bioengineering company specialising in single- and multi-organ microphysiological systems and innovative lab technologies. They provide systems that generate clinically translatable data that can enhance the development of tomorrow’s medicines. CN Bio’s technologies enable researchers to work on innovative modalities including gene editing, therapeutic antibodies/proteins and cellular therapies.
Aware of our strong track record in mechanical engineering and lab instrumentation development, CN Bio appointed eg technology to help develop and automate their PhysioMimix Organ-on-Chip device, specifically designed for the research of drug metabolism, toxicology and liver disease. Their aim was to turn their biotechnology in to a commercial lab-benchtop Microphysiological System (also known as Organ-on-a- Chip) to transform the way human-relevant preclinical data is generated. They required a development partner to undertake the mechanical and pneumatic design to drive their innovative microfluidics platform and turn the product into reality.
There are two main parts to the device; a programmable controller unit and a driver unit to power the functions on consumable labware. Membranes form mini valves and pumps, allowing reagents to be pumped precisely between wells, keeping human organ cells alive.
Our mechanical and build teams provided a phased design for manufacture, during which they managed requirement specifications, calculations, pneumatics, failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA), usability, prototyping and controlled build. We specified and integrated the pressure pump, vacuum pump, reservoirs, flow control, filters, driers and pressure regulators, which all had to function seamlessly – generating air pressures and maintaining consistent supply.
As with most of our projects, we made prototypes of the proposed solution to verify against the specifications and were able to cater for CN Bio’s requirement of a controlled build in-house; delivering 10 controllers and 30 drivers for their product launch.
Our mechanical engineers developed the Control Unit, including a pneumatic system generating regulated pressure and vacuum supplies to allow precise control of the microfluidic circuit. The Driver Unit forms the interface to the consumable labware, allowing a user to easily load an experiment whilst automatically creating the required electrical and pneumatic connections. With lab space at such a premium, the Controller takes up much less space than standard compressor systems. The Driver can be placed in a standard lab incubator for the duration of the experiment and allows samples to be removed during a test for reagent top-ups. The PhysioMimix Organ-on-Chip device is quick to set up and user friendly.
This product is CE Marked. Their technology is also being used by scientists at the US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) to investigate drug metabolism, toxicity and drug-drug interactions.