Top Sector Life Sciences & Health (LSH) entails a broad scope of disciplines, from pharmaceuticals to medical technology and from healthcare infrastructure to vaccination. To realise its mission – vital citizens in a healthy economy - the Top Sector builds on the strengths of the Dutch LSH sector to address the biggest societal challenges in prevention, cure and care. By funding multidisciplinary public-private partnerships (PPPs) the Top Sector aims to facilitate innovation. Here we give an overview of  a number of funded R&D projects by Top Sector LSH. The page is updated continuously.

High throughput screening system for cardiac drugs

High throughput in vitro screening system for cardiac drugs, Heartchip II

The HeartCHIP II project will develop a novel automated high-throughput (HT) drug screening system to identify promising candidates. The system will uniquely use functional video microscopy of heart tissue cultures as a read-out parameter. Previous research by the project partners has shown that this provides a very promising non-destructive method for long-term monitoring of in vitro systems, which is suitable for automation.

Heart failure (HF) is a serious disease that afflicts ~2-3% of the population. HF is mainly caused by other (cardiovascular) disorders such as a previous myocardial infarction or hypertension. Although basic research into more effective drugs against HF is ongoing, there is a lack in drug-development, in part because of a lack of suitable pre-clinical tests to identify promising drug candidates.

In order to develop the prototype HeartCHIP II system, the consortium partners will first study the constituent parts of the planned method: 1) an organ-on-chip (OOC) culture method for human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC) derived multi-cell (cardiomyocyte, endothelial and fibroblast) 3D cultures, 2) dedicated software for functional video microscopy analysis of read-out parameters and 3) disease modelling using hiPSC-derived cardiomyocytes with disease-specific mutations. At the end of the project, the prototype system will be validated using various types of stimuli with known effect, e.g. pharmaceutical drugs, culture substrates with varying stiffness, genetic mutations with known effects. The results of this project will show proof-of-concept for the HeartCHIP II system as a pre-clinical test to identify promising drug candidates.

Following further technical and analytical validation of the HeartCHIP II system, the system will be commercialised by out-licensing and offering pre-clinical drug screening to biotech and pharmaceutical companies in the cardiovascular field.

This collaboration project is co-funded by the PPP Allowance made available by Health~Holland, Top Sector Life Sciences & Health, to EMC to stimulate public-private partnerships. For questions, please contact EMC directly via the following email address