The European project UNLOOC (Unlocking the data content of Organ-on-Chips) has been officially launched on 14 May 2024 in Jena, Germany. This ambitious three-year project, involving 51 organisations from 10 European countries including i+Med, aims to mitigate the use of animal testing in drug development by designing revolutionary Organ-on-Chip (OOC) technologies.

Innovation in Drug Development

UNLOOC seeks to address the ethical and scientific challenges associated with animal testing. Traditionally, animal models have been used to validate the effectiveness and safety of new drugs before they advance to human clinical trials. However, these models have many limitations, such as low translational probability to humans and high development costs. OOC technology, which replicates the physiological and functional properties of human organs on a microstructured platform, offers an innovative solution to these problems.

Five New OOC Applications 

UNLOOC will develop and validate five novel OOC applications that go beyond the current state of the art, encompassing various diseases and safety testing of new compounds. These applications include:

  1. 3D organ models that replicate human diversity through innovative cryopreservation.
  2. Smart multiwell OOC plates for single and multi-organ systems.
  3. Artificial epithelium to assess transdermal drug delivery and toxicity.
  4. Affordable and scalable blood-brain barrier platform.
  5. Advanced lung-on-chip platform to better assess the safety of new drug candidates.

i+Med and the “Skin on a Chip” Project

Since May 1, I+Med has been working on the new European project UNLOOC, focusing on the “Skin on a Chip” use case. In this project, I+Med will design an innovative OOC platform that mimics human skin and can be used to evaluate transdermal drug delivery, skin penetration, absorbance, and toxicity in a drug delivery and toxicity scenario. This development will significantly advance the efficacy and safety of new compounds, providing a robust platform for chemical testing.

Impact and Future of the Project

The UNLOOC project will not only offer advanced tools for drug development and disease modeling but also help bridge the gender gap in clinical research and promote personalized medicine. With a total budget of approximately €70 million, UNLOOC will position Europe at the forefront of Organ-on-Chip research, providing solutions of great economic and scientific value.

For more information about the project and its progress, visit the official website at (http://www.unlooc.eu) and follow updates on LinkedIn on the UNLOOC Chips JU project profile.

Project Partners

Project partners in alphabetical order:

AbbVie Ireland NL B.V. (IE), Alveolix AG (CH), BEOnChip S.L. (ES), Carl Zeiss Microscopy GmbH (DE), Core Life Analytics (NL), CSEM Centre Suisse d’Electronique et de Microtechnique SA – Recherche et Developpement (CH), Cytes Biotechnologies S.L. (ES), Demcon life sciences & health Enschede (NL), Demcon Sync Biosystems B.V. (NL), Demcon Curonix B.V., EBERS Medical Technology SL (ES), HUN-REN Energiatudományi Kutatóközpont (HU), European Infrastructure of Open Screening Platforms for Chemical Biology (EU-OPENSCREEN) – EU-OPENSCREEN ERIC (DE), Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e. V. (DE), Fundacio Institut de Bioenginyeria de Catalunya (ES), FUNDACION DE LA COMUNIDAD VALENCIANA CENTRO DE INVESTIGACION PRINCIPE FELIPE (ES), Fundacion Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria Aragón (ES), HES-SO Haute école specialisée de Suisse occidentale (CH), I+Med S. Coop. (ES), InSphero AG (CH), Instituto de Engenharia de Sistemas e Computadores (INESC), Investigação e Desenvolvimento em Lisboa (PT), Instituto de Engenharia de Sistemas e Computadores (INESC) Microsistemas e Nanotecnologias (PT), Institutul National de Cercetaredezvoltare pentru Microtehnologie (ROU), Interuniversity MicroElectronics Center IMEC (BE), Ihs Weigling S.L. (ES), Jobst Technologies GmbH (DE), Lionix International (NL), Lipotype GmbH (DE), Locsense B.V. (NL), Micronit BV (NL), microfluidic ChipShop GmbH (DE), Multi Channel Systems MCS GmbH (DE), Nederlandse Organisatie voor toegepast-natuurwetenschappelijk onderzoek TNO (NL), Nuromedia GmbH (DE), okolab s.r.l. (IT), Ost – Ostschweizer Fachhochschule (CH), Philips Electronics Nederland B.V. (Netherlands), S.C. DDS Diagnostic S.R.L. (ROU), SiliconGate LDA (PT), Spiden AG (CH), Stelar Security Technology Law Research (DE), Stichting IMEC Nederland (NL), Technische Universiteit Delft (NL), Technische Universität Braunschweig (DE), Universidad de Zaragoza (ES), Universidad del País Vasco/Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea (ES), Universidade de Santiago de Compostela (ES), Universiteit Maastricht (NL), University College Cork – National University of Ireland, Cork (IE), University of Pavia (IT), Viscofan España S.L.U. (ES).

This project is supported by the Chips Joint Undertaking and its members Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Switzerland. This work includes top-up funding from the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI).

Funded by the European Union and the national funding authorities of the participating countries. Views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union, Chips JU, or the respective funding bodies. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.