Schlieren ZH – InSphero, a company based in the Greater Zurich Area, has launched the first platform of its kind for the development of drugs to treat certain liver disorders. Up until now, no drug has been available to treat these diseases.

InSphero develops 3D micro-tissue used in drug development processes in order to investigate the impact of active ingredients on the human body. The company’s new platform is also based on these micro tissues. Using the 3D InSight Human Liver Disease Platform, drugs can be developed to treat certain liver diseases for which no treatment was previously available. These include non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), which can lead to fibrosis, cirrhosis and cancer, as outlined in a press release issued by InSphero.

The platform allows drugs for these diseases to be developed in-vitro. Up until now, animal testing had to be used, a process which lasted a long time and produced imprecise results, as Scott Friedman, Dean for Therapeutic Discovery and Chief of Liver Diseases at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, comments in the press release. According to Friedman, a new alternative would be available in the form of InSphero’s platform, which is also geared towards automation and can therefore be integrated in existing working processes.

According to InSphero, the prevalence of NASH is rising rapidly and is thought to affect around 10% of the adult population in Western countries already. It is expected to be the leading cause of liver transplants in the United States by 2020.

InSphero is a spin-off affiliated to the University of Zurich (UZH) and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH) with its headquarters in Bio-Technopark Schlieren-Zürich.

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