BRAINCHIP – Brain-on-a-chip


The treatment of conditions and diseases of the central nervous system (CNS) related to aging as well as environmental, genetic and other incidental factors, depends on gaining a deeper understanding of the brain complexity. Therapeutic drugs development, evaluation, and personalization require realistic test systems able to improve the predicted outcome currently provided by animal testing. In vivo tests are labor-intensive and time-consuming processes with high costs, experimental variations and low-throughput. On the other hand, alternative current in vitro systems fails to reproduce the CNS complexity due to their two-dimensional character which restricts cellular shapes and interactions: such as those of astrocytes with numerous neurons or those originating from the existence of the blood-brain barrier (BBB). More realistic in vitro models, incorporating human cells structured in 3D dispositions and implementing different brain regions are required to study how neurological conditions impact connected regions of the brain. This is called brain-on-a-chip.

The main objective of this project is to generate a potentially valorize Brain-on-a-chip instrumentation platform for mimicking brain functions, testing therapeutic molecules and generating objective data. The proof of concept that will be developed during the Brain Chip project is expected to have direct application to the emulation of other organ functions and to facilitate organ-on-a-chip –based standardization.  It should lead to the introduction of a versatile usable platform fostering life sciences, drug discovery and drug screening, once combined with artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms.


  • PERIOD : 2016-2017
  • PROGAM : H2020


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Cherry Biotech is working in the development of an automated system based in the use of microfluidics, extracellular matrixes, and perfused three-dimensional multicellular environments, to achieve a better reproduction of in vivo models while improving intercellular connectivity, cellular survival, interconnected cellular niches separation, and neuronal differentiation in vitro. The Brain Chip brain-on-a-chip system is conceived since the beginning as an application-affordable, usable and comprehensive, disposable cartridges –based organ-on-a-chip device, for automated and controlled drug-testing, using patient-specific cells. The overall device will exploit current In this brain-on-a-chip project, Cherry Biotech developed temperature control technologies by adding new optical, fluidic and electrical components, as well as information processing and data retrieval capabilities, to achieve a self-standing, or alternatively microscope-adaptable, system applicable to theranostics, to drug development and to fundamental life sciences research. The system is enhanced by automated data gathering and artificial intelligence algorithms aimed to support therapies evaluation and decision making.


This brain on a chip project fits in Cherry Biotech strategy to develop a comprehensive standard analytical platform facilitating drug development and theranostics.

One of the top priorities of Cherry Biotech is to design, develop, and implement, combined organ-on-a-chip and artificial intelligence systems, targeting the drug development and the theranostics markets. We aim to strongly position ourselves in these markets and to generate new standards while improving healthcare and drug discovery worldwide.  These developments require the understanding and the integration of numerous components and areas of expertise including instrumentation, electronics, fluidics, life sciences, IT and optics without forgetting also other aspects related to commercialization, scalability, costs and market suitability.

Currently, in addition, the brain-on-a-chip, a new broader organ-on-a-chip, and artificial intelligence product have been conceived, under the codename of Project CubiX, that integrates many of the Cherry Biotech developments, including these inscribed into the Brain Chip Project.


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 739759

Disclaimer: this content reflects only the author’s view and the EU Agency is not responsible for the information it contains.