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Emulate, Inc. Awarded Michael J. Fox Foundation Grant to use Organs-on-Chips to Investigate Drug Candidates for Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease

October 22, 2015

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The studies will evaluate potential safety challenges of LRRK2 kinase inhibitors to drive improvements within this promising therapeutic class of medicines that target the underlying biology of Parkinson’s disease.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Emulate, Inc. announced today that it has been awarded a research grant from The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) to apply the company’s Organs-on-Chips to investigate the potential safety liabilities observed in a class of drug candidates called LRRK2 kinase inhibitors for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

The MJFF grant will fund studies that use Emulate’s human-relevant system to evaluate and compare the parameters of lung toxicity that have been observed in animal studies with LRRK2 kinase inhibitors. The goal of the studies is to enable researchers to design better and safer drugs by using the Organs-on-Chips to predict human responses to drug candidates, evaluate drug safety, and gain insights into the mechanisms of action of LRRK2 kinase inhibitors. Leucine-rich repeat kinase-2 (LRRK2) mutations are a cause of Parkinson’s disease, and therapeutic inhibition of LRRK2 kinase activity may provide a means of addressing an underlying biochemical cause of Parkinson’s disease.

“The greatest unmet need for patients is therapies that can impact the underlying pathology of Parkinson’s disease, and Organs-on-Chips offers an innovative solution to better understand human response and open up new possibilities to better design drug candidates.”

“We have seen several drug companies develop promising LRRK2 kinase inhibitors and yet they encounter a potential safety liability that stands in the way of advancing this class of potential disease-modifying therapies for Parkinson’s disease,” said Marco Baptista, PhD, senior associate director of MJFF research programs. “The greatest unmet need for patients is therapies that can impact the underlying pathology of Parkinson’s disease, and Organs-on-Chips offers an innovative solution to better understand human response and open up new possibilities to better design drug candidates.”

“We are honored to have the support of The Michael J. Fox Foundation and to collaborate with its network in the Parkinson’s disease field to use our Organs-on-Chips for uncovering new understandings that may unlock the potential of LRRK2 kinase inhibitors,” said Geraldine A. Hamilton, PhD, President and Chief Scientific officer of Emulate. “This important program in Parkinson’s disease research is one example that shows how we are using our Organs-on-Chips to identify and overcome both safety and efficacy issues – by creating more predictive data on human response and a deeper understanding of drug and disease mechanisms. Ultimately, we aim to make advancements towards better and safer drug candidates that can accelerate new therapies for patients.”

About The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research
As the world’s largest nonprofit funder of Parkinson’s research, The Michael J. Fox Foundation is dedicated to accelerating a cure for Parkinson’s disease and improved therapies for those living with the condition today. The Foundation pursues its goals through an aggressively funded, highly targeted research program coupled with active global engagement of scientists, Parkinson’s patients, business leaders, clinical trial participants, donors and volunteers. In addition to funding more than $450 million in research to date, the Foundation has fundamentally altered the trajectory of progress toward a cure. Operating at the hub of worldwide Parkinson’s research, the Foundation forges groundbreaking collaborations with industry leaders, academic scientists and government research funders; increases the flow of participants into Parkinson’s disease clinical trials with its online tool, Fox Trial Finder; promotes Parkinson’s awareness through high-profile advocacy, events and outreach; and coordinates the grassroots involvement of thousands of Team Fox members around the world.

Organs-on-Chips for Emulating Human Biology
Based on our Organs-on-Chips technology, which places living human cells in microengineered environments, Emulate has developed an integrated system that provides a window into the inner-workings of the human body. Our living products set a new standard for predicting human response, with greater precision and detail than today’s cell culture or animal-based testing. Emulate’s Organs-on-Chips contain tiny hollow channels lined by living human cells and tissues cultured under continuous fluid flow and mechanical forces, such as cyclic breathing and peristalsis, which recreate the microenvironment experienced by cells within the human body. Each Organ-on-Chip can contain tens of thousands of cells and is approximately the size of a USB memory stick. Organs-on-Chips are miniaturized living systems that represent the smallest functional unit of an organ that effectively recapitulate organ-level physiology and disease responses. Multiple Organs-on-Chips, such as lung, liver, intestine, kidney, skin, eye, and blood-brain-barrier, can be linked together by flowing human blood or nutrient-containing liquid to create a “Human-Body-on-Chips” that closely replicates whole body-level responses.

About Emulate
Emulate, Inc. is a private company that creates living products for understanding how diseases, medicines, chemicals, and foods affect human health. By setting a new standard for recreating true-to-life human biology, Emulate is advancing product innovation, design and safety across a range of applications in drug development, personalized health, agriculture, cosmetics and chemical-based consumer products. Emulate continues to develop a wide range of Organs-on-Chips, disease models and diagnostics through collaborations with industry partners and internal programs. By combining our Organs-on-Chips system with individuals’ stem cells, Emulate is accelerating progress toward a new era of precision medicine and personalized health. For more information, visit www.emulatebio.com.

Media Contact:
Kathryn Morris
The Yates Network
Tel: 845-635-9828
kathryn@theyatesnetwork.com