Heart-on-a-chip is one of the few disruptive technologies which promise a huge potential to improve efficiency & effectiveness and simultaneously reduce the overall costs associated with drug discovery. A heart-on-chip is a microfluidic chip which mimics mechanisms and functions of heart. Hence, heart-on-chip is perfectly suitable during drug discovery, detailing insights into human biology and enabling clinical research where human trials are difficult to be carried out. Animal models can aid in the general understanding of biological and physiological processes, but they frequently fail to accurately represent human cardiotoxicity due to inter-species differences. Indeed, data from animal testing is extrapolated to humans which perhaps lead to inaccurate results. Inaccuracies can be dangerous, especially when it comes to heart medication dosages but with the introduction of technology such as heart-on-a-chip, these problems are being readily eradicated.

Also, humans can differ significantly due to age, race, or genetic diversity but the discreet nature of heart on chip has helped to overcome such barriers and make the process of modelling human physiology increasingly efficient. A heart-on-chip is a simple and innovative way to create three-dimensional cardiac tissue. The basic idea behind this micro physiological device is to develop a simple and inexpensive method for studying cardiac diseases, developing cardiac drugs and testing cardiotoxicity, personalized medicine, and regenerating damaged heart tissue.

In the short term, drug safety or toxicology may represent a beachhead market for qualification of heart-on-chip devices and technology. Drug safety/adverse effect testing is typically done during the pre-clinical stage of drug development. Drug candidates selected during the initial discovery process (lead optimization) are validated at this stage before entering the clinical phase (testing on human individuals). All this has resulted into soaring of scientist and technology developers from across the world. For example, In December 2021, a team of scientists from Boston University made a heart-on-chip platform fabricated using two-photon fabrication of tissue that could be implanted into a beating heart. The comparison of actual and average public estimates of the percentage of deaths resulting from cardiovascular disease worldwide, 2019, by country is shown in the representation below.
Figure 1- Comparison of Actual and Average Public Estimates of the Percentage of Deaths Resulting from Cardiovascular Disease Worldwide, 2019, by Country


Source – Australian Bureau of Statistics, and Industry ARC Analysis

Figure 2- Projected total costs of cardiovascular disease in the U.S. from 2015 to 2035, by disease type (in billion U.S. dollars)

Source – Statista Research Department, and Industry ARC Analysis

Historical Analysis of Heart on Chip Indicates the Urgent Need to Accelerate Development:

About ten years ago, scientists combined fluidic systems, cell culture techniques, analytical methods, and single 2D and 3D cell culture protocols to create new in vitro models. Heart-on-a-chip systems were created to mimic typical functions of human organs in microliter volumes. The potential of these models, also known as "micro physiological systems," drew the attention of research groups and pharmaceutical companies looking for more effective, efficient, and cost-effective techniques to reduce drug development failures. Also, the healthcare authorities of the world were concerned about the alarming heart disease statistics which also resulted in further expansion of this technology. The burden of death from heart diseases in the U.S in 2021 is shown in the graph below.

Figure 3- Burden of Death from Heart Diseases in the U.S., 2021

Source – CDC, and Industry ARC Analysis

Adding Value Propositions to Research Results Indicates the Rapid Growth which the Market Can Experience in the Years to Come 

The Organ on a chip market is the parent market for the heart on a chip industry. The OOAC market was recently valued at 21 million US dollars and is expected to reach 220 million US dollars by 2025. The majority of companies (start-ups and large corporations) are based in the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and France, with new research emerging in South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. Heart-on-chip, human-on-chip, intestine-on-chip, kidney-on-chip, liver-on-chip, and lungs-on-chip have seen the most progress. In academic research, the technology development path is frequently non-linear, and many projects naturally fail at the proof-of-concept stage. Instead, effective industrial development of a product must proceed steadily and be completed as soon as possible before public and commercial interests wane and new solutions appear on the market.

A critical component of a linear technology development pathway is defining the value proposition, quickly transitioning from an R&D-only stage to the validation phase, and finally optimizing and scaling-up for rapid adoption. These steps are required to deliver the promised benefits and successfully leverage funding sources and investments. Due to an efficient delivery model of organ on chip research, the concept in flourishing and anticipated to surge. Liver OOAC models have been broadly examined, attributable to the powerlessness of current preclinical in vivo creature models to precisely foresee the high extent of human medication actuated liver injury.

Researches distributed a basic survey of existing, economically accessible liver-on-a-chip gadgets, assessing their benefits and trouble spots, which incorporate unreasonable shear stresses, low oxygen transport because of slow media stream rates, and vague synthetic ingestion by silicone parts. However, a few gatherings have had the option to reiterate clinically important tissue reactions, showing upgrades over ordinary 2D societies. The most notable OOAC gadget is the alveolus-on-a-chip (or "breathing lung-on-a chip") model, in which IL-2-inducible vascular spillage as a result of a split the difference endothelial-epithelial obstruction, emulating pneumonic edema, was at first portrayed.

Figure 4- Venture investments in cardiovascular companies in the U.S. from 2006 to 2021 (in million U.S. dollars)

Source – Statista Research Department, and Industry ARC Analysis

Table1- Some Notable Startups and Funding to assist Market Growth 

Company Name



Hepregen was turned out of MIT in 2008 and supported with a Series A series of $3 million. From that point forward, they took in an extra $1.5 million in awards carrying their absolute subsidizing to $4.5 million. In 2013 they started selling their "liver on a chip" stage under the brand name HepatoPac. Notwithstanding people, the stage additionally upholds rodents, monkeys, and canines. They additionally offer the HepatoMune item for people just which is a kindled liver.

Hurel Corporation

Established in 2005, Hurel Corporation's innovation was subsidized and hatched by Merck from 2007-2011. From that point forward, Hurel has taken in $9.2 million in subsidizing and counts The Humane Society of the United States as a partaking financial backer. The Company additionally has overall elite privileges to specific licenses and patent applications claimed by Cornell University. Their "liver on a chip" item upholds 4 species (human, rodent, canine, and primate) which can right now be air-delivered to research center areas all through the United States and Western Europe.


Seattle based Nortis was established in 2011 as a twist out from the University of Washington. The Company has taken in $2.65 million in financing such a long way with financial backers that incorporated the Bill and Melinda Gates establishment. While little data is accessible about their advancement, they are centered around a dispensable "kidney on a chip" item which can be utilized for drug testing. Like the liver, the kidney is additionally profoundly defenseless to injury from drugs. Nortis expressed that they intend to send off their center item in Q3 2015, and that implies starting today it ought to be accessible.


Founded in 2010 spin-off from the Technische Universität Berlin, German company TissUse launched their 2-organ product in 2013 which has been successfully applied in more than 20 academic and industrial research projects. This two-organ-chip has been established for the simultaneous cultivation of two different cell types which can be interconnected and provide lifelike behavior. A new chip design serving specific customer needs can be produced in as little as two months. Tissue is working on a 4-organ chip and the development of a ten-organ-chip is expected to be completed by 2017.


Founded in 2014, AxoSim’s patent-pending core technology was developed in the lab of Dr. Michael J. Moore at Tulane University. Fabricated using hydrogel scaffolds, the Company’s patent-pending “nerve-on-a-chip” technology is a 3D cell-based model that acts and functions like a nerve. AxoSim has received funding from the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps program.

Tara Biosystems

Founded in 2014, Tara Biosystems is a New York-based Columbia University spin-out which is developing a “heart-on-a-chip” product. These tiny hearts are exposed to electrical stimulation which actually mimics a heartbeat. Tara Biosystems has taken in $300,000 in seed funding from Harris and Harris Group (TINY), a publicly-traded VC firm. Update 06/24/2020: Tara Biosystems has raised $10 million in Series A funding to scale its cardiac tissue engineering platform technology and advance its drug discovery programs. This brings the company’s total funding to $21.3 million to date.

Drug Development Companies Committed Towards Building an Efficient Human Drug Trial Regime

The new approach of microfluidic advancements and the upgrades acquired in the field of immature microorganisms prompted the improvement of utilitarian heart in vitro models manageable for regenerative medication studies. These frameworks have the goal of emulating significant morphological and practical elements of the heart milieu, for example, the anisotropic association of cardiomyocytes (CMs) and the electromechanical feeling to create a coordinated withdrawal beating. Several 2D and 3D heart models have been created to upgrade and survey the development of the repeated cardiovascular tissue, its usefulness, and its reaction to drugs as well as exogenous substances (e.g., natural pollutants59). 

A model crafted by Stancescu that considered a 2D cell model incorporated inside Biomedical Microelectromechanical Systems (BioMEMS) ready to model basic parts of the in vivo myocardial capabilities, for example, electrical conduction and contractile power of cardiomyocytes (CMs). In specific, to gauge those boundaries, CMs got from human early-stage foundational microorganisms (hESC-CMs) were designed on fibronectin coated multielectrode exhibits (MEA) to follow the electrical movement of cells as well as on fibronectin-covered silicon cantilever computer chips to gauge their contractile power. The mix of these two equal subsystems empowered the examination of toxicity related boundaries in light of norepinephrine, verapamil, and sotalol organization, and each medication demonstrated impacts in accordance with clinical information.
With a similar reason, cultivated human instigated pluripotent undifferentiated cells determined CM (hiPSC-CM) monolayers onto a glass substrate with designed microelectrodes. Such microelectrodes comprised of both MEA and interdigitated anodes (IDEs) to gauge field potential and compression of CMs, individually. Blebbistatin, a compound that diminishes heart contractility, and norepinephrine, a drug that increments heart thumping rate, were taken on to evaluate electromechanical modifications in cardiovascular cells. A lot of such research is being carried out in various research institutions which is expected to boost the development of heart on a chip technology. 

Process of Building an Efficient Heart on Chip Model is Subjected to Significant Challenges

To make a significant model, the computer chip should imitate the heart's fundamental properties: the mechanical compressions, the sub-atomic vehicle, the electrical movement, and explicit reactions to some medication feeling. It could likewise be intriguing to add explicit estimation frameworks, for expected accounts of compression or activity, or even computation of tissue versatile modulus. The heart-on-chip, first of all, ought to imitate the cell association level in a living heart by displaying sarcomeres collecting with adjusted tissue structure. The heart is likewise one of the intriguing organs with dynamic tissues that show characteristic compressions.

Besides, the tissues are known to have a superior cardiovascular separation when invigorated by an extending beat, as shown by research. The constriction development is consequently critical for a powerful model with mature cardiomyocytes. The heart is a siphon yet in addition a muscle, and that implies energy utilization and sub-atomic vehicle. This part of the organ ought to be thought about to display the supplements supply and side-effects end. One more central issue to construct a future programmed enormous scope technique for the drug business is to get estimations information straightforwardly from the CPU to assess the probability of the tried restorative treatment. Without a doubt, coordinating enlistment frameworks in the chip permits to try not to isolate instruments, and thusly diminishes the expense while expanding the accuracy. It likewise takes into consideration a superior control of the excitement.

The Regulatory Bodies Still See a Potential in “Organ on Chip” Category

The insufficiency of current medication testing ideal models, particularly in poisonousness testing utilizing creature models, has empowered the improvement of acculturated cell models as an option for wellbeing evaluation. The use of human-based OOAC approaches may yield items advancing into human clinical preliminaries with further developed wellbeing and viability profiles. In that capacity, OOAC offers guarantee yet requires approval and moved along translational comprehension. This is trying as frameworks don't yet completely restate human organ physiology (for example they need endocrine and invulnerable reactions), and poisonousness and human illness processes are not completely perceived in vivo. 

Regardless of these difficulties, the administrative specialists see potential in OOAC innovation and administrative courses to approve cell models as of now exist for example the European Place for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM), albeit the courses of events are long. Controllers support sharing of strong information from unvalidated models while testing these original methodologies close by existing strategies to exhibit expected utility. This will not be important for the administrative dynamic cycles. Extra difficulties around questioning the little volumes found in OOAC frameworks, asking explicit questions, and defining reasonable objectives for the abilities of the OOAC stages are fundamental to convey decision-making information. This is best accomplished by cooperation across the area and with administrative offices.

To construct an effective OOAC examine, an aggregate necessity to be quantifiable, a pharmacological reaction self-evident, also, the framework useable and down to earth. Many arrangements exist for harmfulness and adequacy testing with expanding intricacy by and large directing decreased power. At CN Bio, moderate improvement from single cell liver chips (with hepatocytes) furthermore, blended cell populaces (hepatocytes, stellate and Kupffer cells) has been laid out empowering illness modelling. Instances of this incorporate Non-Alcoholic Steato Hepatitis (NASH) and useful frameworks for the Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) life cycle. Compelling capability of the models and advances, and showing that they are good for reason, will be vital to their prosperity. 

Significant inquiries to respond will be: Do the limits of the gadgets apply imperatives that may hamper translation to clinical pertinence? How could giver to-benefactor fluctuation of essential determined tissues in the stage be obliged? Ease of use is a significant down to earth issue as it straightforwardly influences the testing of fitting quantities of pertinent clarified compounds. Networks are presently laying out these test sets, which will help cross-stage understanding and capability. To propel the field, the National Institutes of Wellbeing (NIH) has laid out tissue-chip testing focuses in the USA. These focuses will autonomously convey information from different stages to confirm producer claims and invigorate more extensive acknowledgment and utilization of these methodologies. Administrative offices like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have likewise begun to assess these innovations.


In the medication advancement process (DDP), most of current techniques to evaluate drug security in pre-clinical stages are frequently expensive and wasteful. To be sure, pre-clinical preliminaries primarily depend on shortsighted two-layered in vitro models or creature experimentation. Heart-on-Chip and microfluidic advances propose entrancing designed devices to produce in vitro human organ models that may be embraced to explore in a more trademark way both medication harmfulness and wellbeing of recently evolved and reviewed intensifies in concurrence with the 3Rs standards (Replacement, Reduction, and Refinement, Directive 2010/63/EU). Specifically, liver and heart poison levels represent the 90% of medication withdrawal from the market, and, in this way, micro physiological frameworks enveloping these two organs have been created and generally took on in fundamental exploration. 

As a matter of fact, micro physiological frameworks can summarize the physiological construction of human organs with upgraded tissue functionalities to concentrate on drugs impacts in vitro. The utilization of these frameworks has showed useful impacts concerning drugs expectation, and their abuse in the beginning stages of the drug development process (DDP) is supposed to decisively add to decrease costs, time, and moral worries connected with creature trial and error. Additionally, such in vitro models can accelerate the DDP itself by shortening the hole that generally emerges between pre-clinical and clinical phases. Nonetheless, the way to showcase for heart on chip gadgets is still lengthy, and it gently relies upon the capacity to consolidate more than one organ into a solitary stage, central to inspect drug-related PK/PD profiles. As a matter of fact, heart on chip enveloping just a single organ that can't emulate and foresee medications' foundational impacts followed hepatic biotransformation as they happen in vivo. This impedes an all through investigation of the impacts of promising particles which go through liver digestion as well as particles that once processed can cause unpredicted foundational poisonousness (i.e., cardiotoxicity). 

In this situation, the combination of interconnected liver and heart useful models in in vitro frameworks holds the guarantee to outflank conventional examines through unambiguous wellbeing tests on both parent drugs and their metabolites, limiting the event of misleading positive/adverse outcomes and ultimately advancing the DDP process. 

Numerous new drugs are fostered consistently, and extra cooperation’s among drugs are dynamically reported. For example, with regards to drug drug interaction (DDI)-related cardiotoxicity, the cardiotoxic drug “cisapride” is inactivated to safe mixtures by liver digestion when regulated alone in people. Notwithstanding, when co-administered with CYP3A4 inhibitors (e.g., the antifungal ketoconazole), the inactivation of cisapride is impeded, and this to be sure caused its withdrawal from the market. Explores were as of late ready to reiterate this condition in a hiPSC-put together multiorgan on chip (MOoC) framework where liver and heart individual organ on chip (OoC) were fluidically associated. 

In this view, MOoC models enveloping the liver tissue could anticipate unexpected problems because of DDIs, giving phenomenal data in the DDP, by examining and figuring out which DDIs impacts (e.g., surprising cardiotoxicity) are because of liver digestion on different tissues. This can help in deciding the right multidrug treatment for chose patients and subsequently keeping away from the gamble of obscure harmful impacts because of medication drug coadministration. As a matter of fact, unforeseen poisonousness because of coadministration might be confirmed simply in certain patients or classes of people that share comparative liver/heart qualities. 

Customized MOoC frameworks may be in this manner central in bunching the two patients and medications to work on the DDP. Also, such frameworks will be critical in the summarization of drug ADME process as well as in the investigation of malignant growth science and resistant sicknesses, diminishing and ideally supplanting creature models in accordance with the 3Rs standards. Considering, it is normal that from here onward MOoC stages will continuously move from scholarly exploration to Pharma and Biotech businesses, with a definitive desire of being crucial in customized medication studies.

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