Hugo McGuire, CEO and co-founder at eNUVIO, on the VatorNews innovation podcast

Steven Loeb · February 15, 2024 · Short URL:

eNUVIO develops petri dishes which researchers and pharma company can use to simulate the body

On the VatorNews innovation podcast, Steven Loeb and Bambi Francisco Roizen speak to Hugo McGuire, CEO and co-founder at eNUVIO, a company that creates devices, essentially fancy petri dishes, which can simulate the body. That means they can bypass animal testing while also increasing the productivity and research quality of scientists.

Highlights from the call:

  • “Before 2006, researchers did not necessarily have access to the stem cell technology that we have today. So, everything was heavily reliant on animal studies for anything preclinical just because the barrier to go in vitro, meaning directly with cell culture, was just too high, it wasn't necessarily worth it. You could not do that too much with the technologies of the time. In 2006, someone who actually won the Nobel Prize in 2012 figured out a way to transform or induce any cell type of your body into a stem cell. So, you could basically take a blood sample and transform that into a stem cell, which means that you can take these stem cells and make them become whatever you want. It could be a neuron, could be a cell from the heart, could be a liver, and that gives you tremendous flexibility. Even from patient to patient, you can have a line of someone who has a certain disease, could be ALS, for instance, and you could make pretty much all organs from that person in a dish, not by taking a biopsy, but just from a very simple cell from their blood. That's actually super powerful." 
  • “You have a lot of flexibility given by this technology, you can do a lot of things with the stem cells, but now what do you do with that? That's where we are at eNUVIO, we are in that in that side of the field. In the past five to 10 years, there was a lot of effort and a lot of new discoveries on that end as well, just being able to make what's happening in our body in terms of fabrication, in terms of architecture like a microfabricated device, better. That gives us the opportunity to really make an environment for the cell that will be similar to what's happening in our body.”
  • “In terms of drug discovery, what they're looking for is relevance to humans, mainly, because you want to know if your drug is going to work on humans. Right now, there's a lot of tests that are relying on animals, but how similar are we to rodents? To a certain extent, at the cell level a bit, but we can agree that it's not that similar. It's good for some toxicology testing to see if it harms a rat’s heart, so maybe it will harm us, so you won't go into a clinical trial from there, but it's not necessarily that irrelevant. The in vitro research with stem cells brings a way to have results that are human based, it's human relevant, which is super important."
  • “The test before the clinical trial is still mandatory, for good reason. Of course, without that it would be extremely dangerous, but now it's basically about acknowledging that these tests can be done on the cell system before. Honestly, if I would have to go into a clinical trial, I would definitely prefer to have the drug tested on in vitro systems that are human relevant rather than on a rat or mouse, personally."
  • “We have a lot of physiological systems, it's all interconnected. The question is, how do you represent that onto some sort of chip or a system that you can grow cells on, do an in vitro study, and predict what's going to happen into the body if you do certain things, like putting a drug? Let’s say you know the drug will be absorbed and deliver. Now, if you go in that organ after that, how does it propagate? And what's the impact on other organs? In principle, with which our technologies, we're getting towards that. I'm not saying that we are there, it's just that we have more and more ways to facilitate that process and make it closer to that goal. That's a long term goal that I keep in my mind, I would like eNuvio to get to that point.”
  • “Because more and more people are adopting these kinds of technologies, on our end we can scale their production more and more and that makes the technology more and more accessible to more people. We can reduce the cost at scale with time. We're working a lot on that to make sure that the technology can be in more and more hands. And just by having this technology just be more common, more people will have an even better idea about the experiments and assay they can do with it.”

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