Organ-on-a-chip maker Nortis gearing up for 2015 product launch

Seattle organ-on-a-chip maker Nortis is gearing up to launch a microfluidic product to help pharma researchers reduce the error, cost and suffering that can come with animal testing. The company projects it’ll have an organ-mimicking product ready in the first quarter of next year, and is currently securing a production site in Seattle to manufacture the chips.

The company just raised $2 million in angel funding to do so, CEO Thomas Neumann said.

Nortis, founded in 2012, is a University of Washington spinout operating out of the school’s incubator. It’s developing next-gen microfluidic chips, generating small segments of human tissues and organs for in-vitro studies.

“The whole lab-on-a-chip concept is pretty hot right now,” Neumann said. “We really want to give researchers and drug developers a better tool to bring drugs to the clinic much faster.”

Nortis “came up with some tricks,” Neumann said, to create blood vessels on the chips, so that these organ microcosms actually have living vasculature that supply cells with nutrients. For instance, when a pharma researcher wants to test drugs on the chip, it can add them to the fluid stream, mimicking the drug uptake pattern that’s already happening in the human body. … (Read more)