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Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: BSG-SME | Phase: SME-2012-1 | Award Amount: 1.43M | Year: 2012

Silicone if combined with appropriate cell adherent regulatory compounds offers significant advantages as a micro cell carrier, effectively a 3D microtissue device. These benefits include a capacity for defined and controlled porosity, inner chamber size, density, flexible shape, friction resistant, and low toxicity. The lead SME partner holds the IP for a silicone cell carrier device, which met some of these criteria, but exhibited poor cell adherence and requires re-engineering and exploitation of current cell molecular knowledge. There is a strong commercial need for such fully functional 3D cell culture technologies (microtissue) that can be manufactured into robust and reproducible in vitro test systems for toxicity testing, drug testing, cosmetic testing as part of a projected 1.6b cell based test market. This device may also eventually function as an active component in bioartificial livers (BAL) and other organ devices. The market growth is driven by needs in drug screening for drug discovery and toxicity screening. There are also a number of current EU directives that is driving the demand for reliable in vitro 3D cell based test system to replace in vivo test systems. The bio artificial liver market is also expected to grow rapidly due to high rates of liver disease worldwide. This project will develop novel develop new 3D cell culture technology based on proprietary cell immortalisation and the owned cell immobilisation technology. The objectives will be to deliver: 1) Immortalised hepatocyte and endothelial cells that retain characteristics of primary liver cells in 3D co-culture. 2) A porous silicone carrier for 3D culture 3) A scaleable bioreactor systems for 3D culture The following products will be developed using this technology, 1) 3D liver cell multiwell plate assay system, 2) 3D liver microbioreactor system and 3) a bioreactor component for a BAL device. Minimal SME economic return is predicted at 12m within 3 years of project completion

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