NemaMetrix Inc.

The NemaMetrix WormChip System is a first-in-class drug discovery and development platform.  An order of magnitude faster and cheaper than traditional mouse-model system the WormChip can not only provide key data faster, streamlining the drug development pipeline, but can also enable the economic screening of therapeutics for orphan and word-health diseases.

More specifically (for the cell biology and technically minded) our platform allows affordable, high throughput, label-less physiological monitoring of the well understood C. elegans model animal in a device the size of a deck of playing cards. Our device, the WormChip, pairs microfluidic channels with electrical detectors to shuttle C. elegans nematode worms through the chip while recording neurophysiological signals from muscles and neurons. In function, it is highly analogous to the flow cytometer for cell biology.  Much like a flow cytometer flows single cells past a detector allowing quantitation of general cell health parameters and detection of specific biomarkers, the Worm Chip flows single nematodes past an electrical signal detector; rhythmic pumping of the nematode pharynx produces electrical data similar to an electrocardiogram in humans. Similar to the flow cytometer, the Worm Chip allows quantitative measurements of a large population, and sorting of individuals of interest within the population. Dissimilar to flow cytometry, the Worm Chip requires no expensive equipment, minimal training, is performed on whole organisms with a complex and well understood multicellular biology, requires no application of fluorescent detection reagents, and can dwell (or “pause”) on a single organism of interest for long periods of time allowing aging or pharmacokinetic experimentation.