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Wyss Institute Organ-on-a-Chip

One Million Solutions in Health’s Technology Evaluation Consortium™ Evaluated the Wyss Institute Organ-on-a-Chip as INNOVATOR in its Signature Square™ Program
The designation of Innovator was bestowed upon the Wyss Institute’s Organ-on-a-Chip technology via the One Million Solutions in Health Signature Square™ program after an evaluation by members of the Technology Evaluation Consortium.

The One Million Solutions in Health™ Technology Evaluation Consortium™ designated the Wyss Institute Organ-on-a-Chip as Innovator technology through the Signature Square™ program. This innovative technology coming from the Wyss Institute, Harvard University, uses microfabrication techniques to engineer functional human organs-on-chips that provide a novel alternative to conventional cell culture and animal models for drug discovery development.

Pharmaceutical companies rely on the use of expensive, time-consuming, and controversial animal testing to validate their test compounds and drugs, but these studies often fail to predict results obtained in human clinical trials and in patients.

Scientists have worked for years to create alternatives to animal testing, but with little success. The team at the Wyss Institute has used microfabrication techniques, first developed for the computer microchip industry, to engineer functional human organs-on-chips that provide a novel alternative to conventional cell culture and animal models for drug discovery development applications, as well as for testing of chemicals, toxins, and cosmetics.

“The Wyss Institute is bringing forth interesting technology,” said Dawn Van Dam, President and CEO of One Million Solutions in Health. “We are glad to be able to have this technology evaluated by the Consortium, to help everyone better understand its applications in the drug discovery process”.

The consortium members independently chose to review this technology and evaluate its role and usefulness in drug safety. Based on their analysis and ratings, the consortium members provided a designation for this solution: Wyss Institute Organ-on-a-Chip as Innovator.

All technologies rated through the Signature Square process are given a designation in one of the four potential technology or service categories: Blockbuster, Novel, Upstart or Innovator. The rating for this Wyss Institute Organ-on-a-Chip as Innovator was provided via the evaluation by Subject Matter Experts from around the world. The Signature Square evaluation occurs on two dimensions: 1) Value Proposition to the Marketplace and 2) Market or Partner Readiness.

A One Million Solutions in Health Signature Square evaluation is an opportunity for technology or service providers to receive direct evaluations and feedback which can then be used to inform potential investors, end users and/or partners. It can also be utilized as a component towards understanding the technology or service and its potential to contribute to health care.

Based on confidential reviews by Subject Matter Experts in the life sciences and health care sectors for new or established solutions, the Signature Square program provides feedback to technology or service providers (commercial, academic, government, healthcare institutions, etc.). The Subject Matter Experts are members of the Technology Evaluation Consortium with specific expertise in the relevant area for each technology, including individuals from top biopharmaceutical, diagnostic, device, health data or healthcare organizations in the field, as relevant.

One Million Solutions in Health aims to have a broad representation of feedback and advice from relevant Subject Matter Experts in each area. These experts evaluate the technology or service such that the feedback received is valid and valuable.

The positioning within the Signature Square is related to the aforementioned criteria, along with the point-in-time at which it has been evaluated. Consequently, a technology evaluated early could be considered an Innovator, but by addressing the feedback received in the process, could eventually be considered a Blockbuster.

For an opportunity to join the Technology Evaluation Consortium, and review the detailed information, video and evaluation for this technology: Wyss Institute Organ-on-a-Chip as Innovator, please contact Dawn Van Dam at One Million Solutions in Health (dawn.vandam(at)onemillionsolutionsinhealth(dot)org).


The goal of One Million Solutions in Health™ is to shape health care by sharing solutions and, importantly, to accelerate the discovery, development and delivery … of innovative cures, treatments and preventative measures for patients around the world.

In this next year, we will be reviewing 1000’s of new solutions and new scientific discoveries. By engaging scientists, entrepreneurs, investors, innovators, industry experts, health care professionals, and patients across various disciplines, and from around the world, we can utilize the power of the internet to disrupt things in a positive and transformative way to accelerate the movement of new solutions and scientific discoveries from the scientist to the patient.

We are on our way towards accelerating high-potential innovations, catalyzing investment and increasing awareness of, and support for, transformative ideas to improve health and save lives. By facilitating efforts to ensure organizations can Connect, Learn + Share, Innovate and Collaborate, our vision is to improve health care delivery, accelerate life sciences research and share patient and consumer-focused ideas and solutions.

As a not-for-profit, we welcome your participation and are thrilled to have you be a part of this transformative journey!


The Technology Evaluation Consortium™ from One Million Solutions in Health™ is dedicated to improving and accelerating life sciences R&D and health care outcomes. The Technology Evaluation Consortium brings together life sciences and/or health care companies and industry vendors or scientists, and other relevant partners (e.g., government and Universities), to evaluate and validate technologies or services in a collaborative environment.

The model empowers technology providers/scientists and industry end-users to collectively assess a number of solutions in a cost-effective manner, producing a depth and breadth of results that no company can achieve alone. Our mission is to triage and streamline new technology consideration for the industry and to be the place for the industry to conduct their evaluations and validations.


The Wyss Institute was seeded in 2005 when the Provost of Harvard University challenged its faculty to envision the future of Bioengineering across the entire university. Typically, bioengineers apply engineering principles to solve medical problems. But we are now beginning to understand enough about how Nature builds, controls, and manufactures, so that entirely new engineering principles will be discovered.

These new engineering strategies will transform medicine, as well as non-medical areas that have never before been touched by the biology revolution. Recognizing that we are at a tipping point in the history of science and engineering, the faculty proposed that Harvard form a research Institute focused on discovering Nature’s design principles and on applying these insights to engineer bioinspired materials and devices.

A subset of faculty who had pioneered interdisciplinary collaborations across the Harvard community and other universities in the Boston and Cambridge region came together to catalyze the birth of this new institute. Seed funding was provided by the university to form the Harvard Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering in January 2008, which resulted in new cross-university collaborations in areas ranging from self-assembling scaffolds for tissue regeneration to programmable robot swarms that build structures and devices autonomously.

In January 2009, Harvard received the largest philanthropic gift in its history—$125 million—from Hansjörg Wyss to make this vision a reality by launching the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. Since the gift, faculty from engineering, medicine, biology, and the physical sciences have begun to work together in entirely new ways. Unlike many bioengineering efforts, they are not looking to make incremental near-term improvements in biomedical technologies. They have been challenged to carry out high-risk research that will lead to transformative change.

The novelty of the Institute resides in its ability to break down disciplinary barriers by bringing together world-leading researchers, theoreticians, and technical staff with clinicians and industrial collaborators, creating an environment that facilitates synergy among these investigators. The Institute supports cross-cutting fundamental research that will produce completely unpredictable breakthroughs and lead to the development of enabling technologies in the field of bioinspired engineering, and their translation into useful products. These technologies will transform human healthcare as well as industry, manufacturing, and the environment.