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AstraZeneca and Novoheart team up to develop human ‘heart-in-a-jar’

Published on 27/11/19 at 12:37pm

AstraZeneca and Novoheart are collaborating on developing a functioning miniature human heart model of heart failure, a first of its kind.

The ‘heart-in-a-jar’, Novoheart’s proprietary 3D human ventricular cardiac organoid chamber (hvCOC) technology, will be made from human stem cells and will replicate the key characteristics of heart failure. This will include preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF), a common condition especially in women and the elderly.

Novoheart’s Chief Scientific Officer Dr Kevin Cost said that they are ‘‘delighted’’ to partner with AstraZeneca and that they ‘‘look forward to co-developing this new HFpEF hvCOC model into a powerful new tool in the worldwide battle against heart failure.’’

Regina Fritsche Danielson, Senior Vice President and Head of Research at AstraZeneca, also commented: ‘‘There are significant unmet treatment needs in patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction. By combining Novoheart’s propriety hvCOC model with our expertise in heart failure, we aim to create the first in vitro model reproducing phenotypic characteristics of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction. This could bridge the gap between in vitro animal models in clinical trials to help accelerate the drug discovery process by providing human-specific preclinical data.’’

Heart failure is a chronic disease that affects millions. In 2017 there were 64.3 million cases around the globe and it has an estimated economic burden of $100 billion every year. HFpEF accounts for half of all heart failures.

Conor Kavanagh

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