Lena Schober, Moriz Walter, Andrea Traube, Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA, Department Laboratory Automation and Biomanufacturing Engineering, Stuttgart

The use of cell-based assays in pharmaceutical industry and academic research is a growing trend that is a driving force to reduce costs for drug development. Academic research is gaining information about intracellular targets or functional mechanisms through the variety of different assays. These benefits can be used in preclinical studies and furthermore costly late-stage drug failures may be reduced by the use of cell-based assays. The use of automated systems is also in great demand and will change the testing of substances and research activities. Nevertheless, there are a lot of barriers at the moment limiting the successful application of automated systems in this field. By the lack of flexibility and the demand for skilled computer scientists & engineers just the two main aspects stated by experts shall be mentioned.

Reyk Horland, TissUse, Berlin

Present in vitro and animal tests for drug development do not reliable predict the human outcomes of tested drugs or substances because they are failing to emulate the organ complexity of the human body, leading to high attrition rates in clinical studies. Here, Multi-Organ-Chips provide high potential for the in vitro combination of different cell types and organoids to realize a better understanding of their physiological in vivo crosstalk. The expectation is that such tests would predict, for example, toxicity, immunogenicity, ADME profiles and efficacy in vitro, reducing and replacing laboratory animal testing and streamlining human clinical trials.