Mera: A scalable high thoughput automated micro physiological system for preclinical drug discovery
There is an urgent need for scalable microphysiological systems (MPS) that can better predict drug efficacy and toxicity at the preclinical drug screening stage. An ideal preclinical model that can accurately predict clinical response does not exist however the use of MPS can help bridge the translational gap by providing more accurate representation of human susceptibility to drug response. Mera is an automated, modular and scalable system for culturing and assaying microtissues with interconnected fluidics, inbuilt environmental control and automated image capture. The system presented has microfluidic flow control and multiple possible fluidics modes, the primary mode allowing cells to be matured into a desired microtissue type and the secondary mode where the fluid flow can be re-orientated to create a body-on-a-plate-format with recirculating circuits composed of inter-connected channels to allow microtissue communication. We present data demonstrating the prototype system Mera using an Acetaminophen/HepG2 liver microtissue toxicity assay with Calcein AM (CalAM) and Ethidium Homodimer (EtHD1) viability stains. The prototype microtissue culture plate wells are laid out in a 3 x 3 or 4 x 10 grid format with viability (multi-organ models) and toxicity assays demonstrated in both formats. We present the groundwork for the Mera system to be used as a viable option for scalable microtissue culture and assay development for preclinical drug development.
Hooke Bio Ltd
Finola holds a PhD from the University of Limerick in Biotechnology. Prior to joining Hooke Bio, Finola previously held roles as research scientist in National University of Galway, Ireland and Monaghan Biosciences as well as experience in large pharma with roles in J&J. She has 18 years+ experience in 2D & 3D cell culture (bacterial, fungal and mammalian), biochemical assay and process optimisation. She is the co-founder and COO of Hooke Bio Ltd and has led their interdisciplinary team of scientists and engineers since 2014. She has brought the Hooke Bio’s technology from an initial concept at the University of Limerick to the cutting edge of MPS research.