CN Bio and iiCON announce Covid-19 research collaboration

CN Bio has entered a research collaboration with the Infection Innovation Consortium (iiCON) to validate the next generation of Covid-19 research tools. 

iiCON’s £174 million programme brings together industry, academia, and clinicians to accelerate the discovery, development and deployment of new treatments and products. Led by the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM), its partner members include Unilever, Evotec, Liverpool University Hospitals Foundation Trust, University of Liverpool, and Infex Therapeutics. 

CN Bio’s SARS-CoV-2 3D lung cell culture models were developed as part of an Innovate UK project to improve the efficiency and accuracy of Covid-19 drug development. By combining in vitro lung and liver cultures, the multi-organ model enables inter-organ crosstalk effects to be studied; providing deeper human-specific mechanistic insights of the Covid-19 disease state, which is known to affect numerous tissue/organs of the body. The single and multi-organ models have been developed for use with the Company’s PhysioMimix plug-and-play, lab-benchtop MPS, enabling straightforward incorporation into current pre-clinical research projects investigating the next generation of Covid-19 therapeutics to treat and prevent the infection. 

Expanding on the project with Innovate UK, within nine months, CN Bio’s perfused lung models are to be transferred to LSTM for validation, to demonstrate the ability of the PhysioMimix systems to support the full viral life cycle of SARS-CoV-2 and facilitate testing with anti-viral compounds. LSTM will validate the systems’ use in high containment laboratories (CL3) for studies with infectious viral materials and validate the system’s potential to identify PK/PD indices and PD Targets for the development of safe and efficacious dosing regimens of new antiviral therapeutics. 

Following this initial evaluation, it is intended that iiCON will have access to the PhysioMimix technology and its associated 3D tissue models for a variety of translational infectious disease projects. A successful outcome from the collaboration will support researchers globally by providing advanced insights to SARS-CoV-2 infections in humans and enable CN Bio to expand its portfolio of OOC models to address a broader and more diverse range of therapeutic areas.  

Dr Tomasz Kostrzewski, Director of Biology, CN Bio, said: “As a result of this collaboration, it is our joint intention that the data generated will be published, providing us with proof that supports the adoption of PhysioMimix microphysiological systems into industry, where they can be used as translational tools to accelerate understanding of SARS-CoV-2 infection and consequently, accelerate the development of new therapeutic options.”  

Professor Giancarlo Biagini, iiCON Platform Lead, Head of the Department of Tropical Disease Biology at LSTM, and UKRI Innovation Scholar, said: “Facilitating the industry academic interface to drive forward transformative technologies and fast-track innovative health solutions to our most pressing global infectious disease challenges is at the heart of iiCON’s purpose. As part of the consortium, LSTM is delighted to be entering into this key agreement with CN Bio. By leveraging emerging organ-on-a-chip technology, we aim to develop pre-clinical platforms that accelerate translational research of new therapeutics to manage and treat major human infections, including emerging and high consequence infectious diseases such SARS-COV-2.” 


  1. Press release: CN Bio awarded Innovate UK grant to develop single and multi-organ models for COVID-19 research (1st March, 2021) 
  2. Jain U. Effect of COVID-19 on the Organs. Cureus. 2020;12(8):e9540. Published 2020 Aug 3. doi:10.7759/cureus.9540 

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