microscopic image of organoids

The Roche Institute for Translational Bioengineering

The Roche Institute for Translational Bioengineering (ITB) has been established in Basel to harness and advance the use of new human model technologies in discovery and early phase drug development.

Over the past decade, Roche has been a pioneer in techniques that use human model systems to predict the clinical safety and efficacy of potential new treatments.

The nature of current animal models can be unreliable when predicting what happens in patients. Recent breakthroughs using human cell culture technologies have shown that they can predict clinical safety, efficacy and pharmacokinetics with a greater degree of accuracy. Data from these new tissue and disease models will augment in silico algorithms used for modelling and simulation.

Roche’s work in this emerging area focuses on organoids, tiny, self-organised three-dimensional tissue cultures derived from stem cells, as well as “organs-on-a-chip”. Such next-generation cultures can be designed to replicate the structural and functional complexity of a human organ, or to express selected aspects, such as producing only certain types of tissues. “Organ-on-a-chip” technology enables researchers to cultivate human cells representing organs under physiological conditions such as mechanical stimuli.

The ITB is structurally independent from other pRED research groups, yet works closely alongside them to accelerate the adoption of human model systems that can transform the way we do drug development.

Matthias Lutolf, previously Full Professor at the Institute of Bioengineering and the Institute of Chemical Sciences and Engineering of École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland, is the Scientific Director for the Roche ITB.

Tags: Science, Innovation