CN Bio licenses gut modelling tool from MIT


The GuMi device was licensed by Professor Linda Griffith at MIT's Department of Biological Engineering and joint patent-holder, Professor Rebecca Carrier at Northeastern University

Designer of microphysiological systems and organ-on-a-chip company, CN Bio, has secured the licensing rights to a tool for modelling the gut microbiome, GuMI, from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Northeastern University. Planned for commercial launch in 2023, the technology will be integrated into CN Bio’s PhysioMimix OOC range of single- and multi-organ MPS, designed to enable researchers to investigate the direct interaction between the microbiome and gut, and the wider effects of the microbiome on organs such as the liver and brain.

Through its relationship with MIT, CN Bio licensed the GuMI device from OOC pioneer and long-term collaborator, Professor Linda Griffith, at MIT’s Department of Biological Engineering, whose group recently published findings using the system1, and joint patent-holder Professor Rebecca Carrier at Northeastern University.

Modelling the human microbiome in the laboratory is challenging, CN Bio says, especially since many of its several thousand strains of bacteria cannot grow or survive when exposed to oxygen. Animal and in vitro cell-based models have provided some insights to this area of research, however, until now, there has not been a system for long-term in vitro co-culture of a colonic mucosal barrier that supports the growth of these highly oxygen-sensitive microbes.

The GuMI device enables researchers to precisely control oxygen levels within the system, enabling anaerobic bacteria to grow in the mucus layer above the gut barrier in a manner closely resembling human physiology, the company says. Micropumps circulate cell culture medium to ensure the cells are nourished and to remove bacteria from the system for specific analysis of the microbiome.

This agreement follows the recent selection of CN Bio’s PhysioMimix Multi-Organ MPS by King’s College London to create a human-relevant liver-intestinal model for characterising and manipulating host-microbial interactions, aimed to support improved outcomes in cirrhosis2.

Dr David Hughes, CEO, CN Bio, commented: “We are rapidly coming to appreciate the important role the microbiome plays in human health and disease. The field is held back by a lack of experimental systems which truly enable researchers to explore and understand the microbiome and its interactions. Adding the GuMI technology to our PhysioMimix system is an important step in CN Bio’s journey to providing our customers with the most physiologically relevant models to power their drug discovery.”


1. Zhang J et al., Primary Human Colonic Mucosal Barrier Crosstalk with Super Oxygen-Sensitive Faecalibacterium prausnitzii in Continuous Culture. Med 2021; 2(1): 74-98e.9

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2. CN Bio’s PhysioMimix adopted by King’s College London to investigate chronic liver disease (29th June 2021)