Q&A #OoCovid initiative

Nikolas Gaio, founder and CTO of Bi/ond, and Rosa Monge, founder and CEO of BEOnChip chats about the #OoCovid initiative and the importance of organ-on-chip.


Why did Bi/ond launch the #OoCovid initiative?

Niko: When the Covid19 outbreak started to hit Europe, everyone in BI/OND was sure that Organ-on-Chip technology could have a real impact in the fight against the Covid19. We noticed the Organ-on-Chip community was not reacting fast enough. So we decided to do something about it, and we came up with the #OoCovid initiative. This challenge aimed at three main goals.

Patient First:
First and foremost, we wanted to help Covid-19 patients by promoting donations to researchers working on studying the disease and its effects on the human body.
Unity is Strength:
Second, the initiative aimed at convincing all the OOC startups and companies to join forces and work together for a solution.
Need for change:
Third, we wanted to raise awareness regarding the need for new ways of developing drugs and vaccines, to prove that OoC is a valuable alternative.

Why did you join the #OoCovid initiative?

Rosa: Covid19 has caught us completely off-guard and has caused a global crisis that will take years to overcome. This pandemic has shown us all how fragile our economy is and how unprepared our health systems were for a worldwide pandemic. Now is the time for innovation in vitro-research, to speed up the development of new drugs, treatments and vaccines for new diseases such as Covid19. We believe that the Organ on Chip technology will have a key role in future biomedical research, and the #OoCovid initiative aims to put the OoC technology in the spotlight. #OoCovid will help researchers and private companies to understand better the possibilities of the next generation of in vitro research platforms and the importance of adopting this technology early.

How could OoC research contribute to find a solution for viruses such as the coronavirus?

Niko: We believe that OoCs will show their full potential in understanding the effect of Covid-19 on the human body. The combination of OoC and 3D tissues, such as organoids, should not only enable us to understand the mechanisms behind the infection and the damages caused by the virus on lungs, kidneys, heart but also how it interacts with the whole immune system.

Rosa: OoC technology is a powerful tool that will contribute significantly to finding solutions to the medical crisis in the future. OoC can enable us to create models of healthy organs such as a lung-on-chip, that will help us understand better the infection process or test the toxicity of a new treatment in a fast and reliable way. In addition, Organ on a chip technology allows us to model diseased organs and allows us to screen a drug efficacy using cells from a specific population group, that is known to be more susceptible to contracting an illness.

The possibilities are uncanny, and the OoC field is just currently blooming.

Which are the current limits of OoC research and could they be overcome by collaborating more within fields?

Rosa: The field is multidisciplinary. This technology combines the latest advances in tissue engineering with novel developments in microfabrication. Therefore, it is compulsory to create new communication channels between engineers and biomedical researchers to design functional, cheap and easy to use platforms.

What is the role of OOC companies in bridging the gap between research and industry?

Rosa: OoC companies have an enormous task to gather the most relevant advances in OoC technology and take them from the lab to the industry by creating reliable platforms. These platforms will save time and money for researchers and companies that can directly focus on the goal at hand: testing the efficacy or toxicity of a drug, without worrying and spending time in cell culture and organ model validation.

This will pave the way for a faster and more responsive health-care system worldwide, capable of overcoming unexpected crises such as this one.

Niko: OoC has shown to be an extremely versatile technology with a wide range of applications. OoC companies, like BI/OND and BeOnChip, have the duty to identify the applications that will have a real impact on tomorrow’s health-care. At the same time, we have to take into consideration that, to make these technologies widely available, we need to develop technologies that address the day to day issues faced by biologists working in pharmaceutical companies.

We believe that OoC will contribute to advancing the global health-care system, by proving safe, personalized and reliable solutions.

Bi/ond won the Philips innovation award

We are extremely excited to announce that BI/OND won the Philips Innovation award last night.
This is a huge achievement for us and it will push the team to go further and faster! We would like to thank the jury,
the organizers and Philips for believing in us.

If you want to know more about last night, we gave an interview to rtlz.nl.

You can watch it following this link: 1. RTLZ Winnaar innovation award 2019
Or trough this link 

To know more about the Philips Innovation Award follow this link: https://www.phia.nl/

Nikolas Gaio won a lush prize

The 16th of November one of our founders, Nikolas Gaio, was awarded in Berlin with a Young Researcher Award in the Lush Prize 2018 for his work ‘Replacing animal tests with silicon chips’.

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Bi/ond joins forces

Bi/ond joins forces with the Eindhoven University of Technology and Luxembourg
University to develop a Midbrain-on-a-Chip model for Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most prevalent neurodegenerative disorder in the ageing
population. It is characterized by the progressive loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia
nigra region of the brain. Despite intensive research, the cause of the disease is still elusive, and
there is currently no disease-modifying therapy for its treatment. Therefore, it is crucial to achieving
a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying neuronal degeneration. A major shortcoming
toward this goal is the lack of human-specific predictive models for PD.
A promising approach is the development of human brain organoids, self-assembled from
induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC), as systems to better mimic in vivo physiology. However,
maintaining these organoids alive for extended periods in standard in vitro conditions is extremely
challenging. Due to their structural complexity and large size, these three-dimensional tissue models
often suffer from suboptimal oxygen and nutrition supply, which severely limits their viability.

Cinzia Silvestri in the inspiring fifty list

The BI/OND team is proud to announce that Cinzia Silvestri, Co-Founder, and CEO of BI/OND, was included in the 2018 Inspiring Fifty list (Italy).

This award celebrates incredible women excelling in tech careers. Cinzia’s leadership and achievements prove that this is an industry in which women can thrive against unfavourable odds.

Cinzia was chosen among hundreds of candidates by a though jury (https://italy.inspiringfifty.org/judges/). Well done!

If you want to read more about the award and Cinzia story check this link: