InSphero marks 10 years of Innovation in 3D cell-based assay technology | InSphero

InSphero marks 10 years of Innovation in
3D cell-based assay technology

Blog | 3D Cell-based technology

Can an in vitro NASH endpoint be truly predictive of the in vivo response?
September 23, 2019

InSphero marks 10 years of Innovation in
3D cell-based assay technology

InSphero CEO Jan Lichtenberg muses about how far 3D cell technology has come since InSphero was founded in 2009 and shares the latest news about how our disruptive 3D technology is being applied by our partners worldwide.

InSphero celebrated our 10 year anniversary in 2019. Looking back over the past decade, I’m grateful to have had the chance to drive and shape the 3D cell-based assay revolution and spur innovation in 3D in vitro technology. Rather than wax nostalgic by listing all our innovation milestones since 2009, I’d like to share some of our key news stories from this year to get you thinking about how we can partner in 2020 to further advance drug discovery and safety testing.

NAFLD & NASH Discovery

  • In a recent issue of Drug Discovery World, our liver team discussed how preclinical models for NASH have evolved over the past 50 years and shared their vision for the future of NASH drug discovery. It’s a great read, especially for researchers working on NASH therapies.
  • A special report on liver disease in Drug Discovery News delved in the challenges clinicians and researchers face with diagnosing and treating NAFLD and NASH. It mentions how Akero Therapeutics and Cyclerion Therapeutics have partnered with InSphero to leverage our 3D InSight™ Human Liver Disease platform to advance their NASH drug discovery and screening programs.
  • We won an award at the 2019 Sino-European Innovation Week in Healthcare Technology for our ground-breaking NASH discovery and safety testing platform.  The meeting, which was held in Nanjing, China, was co-organized by BioTalk, Technopark Zürich, and swissnex China.

Diabetes Discovery

  • Drug Discovery News interviewed our Islet team to learn more about our Eurostars-funded project with DefiniGEN to develop the next generation of human in vitro model systems for diabetes drug discovery and safety testing.
  • Our disruptive 3D cell technology drove innovative diabetes R&D at ADA2019, where we presented collaborative work done with our partner Novo Nordisk to develop a novel in vitro human islet platform for studying type 1 diabetes, and results from our research activities with AstraZeneca to develop a highly efficient tool for modifying gene expressing in human islets.

Oncology Discovery

  • Our oncology team has been doing some extraordinary work with tumor models and high content imaging as illustrated by this image of a N87-GFP tumor model in co-culture with NIH3T3-RFP fibroblasts captured using a Yokogawa high-content screening system. We’re also working on some exciting new immuno-oncology projects that we’ll tell you more about in the coming year.

Liver Toxicology

  • Enhancements to our production technology and increasing production volume has enabled us to reduce pricing of our 3D InSight™ Human Liver Microtissues. This price decrease makes our pharma-validated human liver toxicology model and highly efficient Akura™ plate technology more accessible to researchers in industry and academia as a gold-standard alternative – that works perfectly out of the box – to laborious do-it-yourself approaches.
  • We joined the Science Exchange Network to offer expanded online access to 3D InSight™ microtissue technology and services. We anticipate that this new distribution channel will be especially convenient for labs interested in working with our assay-ready liver models for toxicology.
  • Cell Culture Disc podcast discussed how our 3D InSight™ Human Liver Microtissues are being applied as a nanotoxicology risk assessment tool in a study conducted by the EU-funded PATROLS nanotoxicology consortium project.
  • In the European Biopharmaceutical Review, our expert liver team revealed the next frontier for translational safety and explained why 3D microtissues continue to outperform traditional 2D cell models in predicting human liver safety.


If you’re interested in exploring partnership opportunities with us to leverage our award-winning 3D biology platforms and unique research perspective on drug discovery and safety testing, let’s talk in 2020. Look for me and our team at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference, SLAS, or SOT.

Hope you have a wonderful holiday break.

Jan Lichtenberg, PhD
InSphero CEO and Co-founder



Discover what you can do with 3D InSight™



Watch this video to learn how we applied our scalable Akura™ technology and 10 years of experience in perfecting 3D in vitro human liver models to develop the first automation-compatible 3D in vitro human liver disease platform for NAFLD and NASH.



Dr. Jan Lichtenberg is CEO and Co-founder of InSphero AG. An engineer and expert in laboratory automation with 20 years of experience in the life sciences, Jan earned his PhD in Microtechnology and Microfuidics at the University of Neuchêtel.

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