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Biotech behind ‘organ-on-a-chip’ systems raises $82 million

Emulate's "organ-on-a-chip" contains tiny hollow channels lined with tens of thousands of living human cells and tissues and can be used to predict human response.
Emulate's "organ-on-a-chip" contains tiny hollow channels lined with tens of thousands of living human cells and tissues and can be used to predict human response.Emulate, Inc.

A Boston biotech startup that uses plastic chips to simulate human organs to test medicines outside of the body has raised $82 million in new venture capital, increasing its total private fundraising to $225 million since the firm was founded in 2014.

The company, Emulate, makes so-called organ-on-a-chip systems to test whether drugs are safe and effective. The latest financing round was led by an earlier investor, Northpond Ventures, of Bethesda, Md., with additional participation by Perceptive Advisors, of New York City.

Emulate says that its chips enable researchers to replicate and study human biology and disease with greater precision and detail than is possible with conventional cell cultures or laboratory animals.

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Jim Corbett, a former executive of Waltham-based PerkinElmer who was appointed Emulate’s chief executive in March 2020, said in a statement Tuesday that he thinks the chips will transform drug discovery and “ultimately eliminate unnecessary animal testing.”

Emulate has 93 employees and is a spinoff of Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. The institute is one of several academic centers working on the concept of bioemulation, the use of technology to simulate on a small scale the functions of living organisms.



Jonathan Saltzman can be reached at jonathan.saltzman@globe.com.