Hybrid business models for ‘Organ-on-a-Chip’ technology: The best of both worlds

Linda H.M. van de Burgwal*, Pim van Dorst, Henk Viëtor, Regina Luttge, Eric Claassen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Current in vitro and in vivo preclinical models often have limited predictive value for translation to the clinical setting. The emerging ‘Organ-on-a-Chip’ (OOC) technology provides a better resemblance to the human physiology through combining 3D configuration of human-derived cells with microfluidic techniques, potentially improving translation. However, due to the disruptive nature of the OOC technology, it is unclear how to best achieve a product-market fit. Data on currently employed business models was collected by 14 semi-structured interviews with representatives from OOC companies. Customer needs were collected by means of an online questionnaire among 62 (potential) end-users. Both companies and customers preferred the Hybrid business model, in which both products and services were offered. Customized services were only moderately preferred over standard services, limiting the potential for price premiums. Razor blade business models facilitate investments in laboratory equipment while locking in the purchase of disposable OOC devices. Current and future generations of in vitro technologies would benefit from combining the best of product and service business models into the Hybrid business model. Downward price pressures are expected to lead to ever-lower pricing and to facilitate more predictive, high throughput screening with a high societal impact on the longer term.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-63
Number of pages9
Issue number2
Early online date17 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018


All authors declare their contribution to this study and approval of the final manuscript. This work was supported by the European Research Council [grant number 713732]. The funding source had no involvement in study design, data collection, data analysis, interpretation of the data, writing of the report or the decision to submit the article for publication. The authors gratefully acknowledge all the participants in this study.

FundersFunder number
Horizon 2020 Framework Programme713732
European Research Council


    • Business model
    • Hybrid model
    • Innovation
    • Organ-on-a-Chip
    • Preclinical


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