NETRI celebrated its fourth anniversary on June 11, 2022, the day before the opening of Bio International, a sure sign of the success it can expect in the USA. Building on exponential organic growth, the startup now has 42 employees and plans to recruit 20 more by the end of the year. They are located in the heart of the BioDistrict in Lyon.
NETRI has already designed, manufactured and validated over 10 devices used around the world. In just a few years, the business has gone from an academic laboratory to an industrial laboratory with a 300 m2 production line and will open a new 2,000 m2 building near Lyon by 2024.
“NETRI was established as a result of the observation that developing a drug costs approximately €3 billion, with a failure rate of 90% and an average of 10 to 12 years before reaching the market,” said Dr. Thibault Honegger, current CEO and cofounder along with Dr. Florian Larramendy, Technical Director. The medtech then designed a platform that saves pharma manufacturers an average of four years.
NETRI’s organs-on-a-chip reproduce the neuronal circuits involved in neurological illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or Huntington’s disease. The indications thus fall within the scope of neurology and associated neurology (lungs, intestines, etc.).
These predictive biological models use identically reprogrammed human pluripotent stem cells from healthy patients to anticipate the effect of a drug candidate on a targeted neurological pathology. These microfluidic chips are obtained by etching or molding microchannels in silicone.
“At NETRI, we believe that we can change the way treatments are discovered by speeding up the discovery of new drugs so that everyone can benefit as quickly as possible. We make every effort to develop the simplest and most reproducible devices possible for our customers, using a multidisciplinary approach that combines biology, engineering and digital technology,” Dr. Thibault Honegger, Cofounder and CEO of NETRI.
Worldwide, around thirty startups are working in the organs-on-a-chip segment. “The differentiating factor is that we are the only ones that are specifically targeting neurological pathologies, which places us in the top 5 worldwide,” Thibault Honegger said with pride.
In early March 2022, the startup finalized a Series A of €8 million fundraising round to accelerate the development of its pilot production units for microfluidic devices and human-cell cultures. It has also been awarded the “Deeptech” label as a result of the support of Bpifrance and the Lyonbiopôle Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes competitiveness cluster via funding of €2 million. It is preparing a second Series B fundraising by 2023 to accelerate its industrialization phase and to spread internationally.
“We will be going to BIO for the second time. All our customers are there, we are therefore going there with clear business objectives, to promote our organs-on-a-chip and discover new prospects,” Thibault Honegger, CEO, said. NETRI has plans, moreover, to open a subsidiary in the USA by 2024.