Hooke Bio Technology

Epona System and Bioconsumable Plate

Currently only 1 in 10 drugs make it through clinical trials to market due mostly to poor preclinical models. Based on recent literature,  3D  models such as microphysiological systems (MPS’s) which are also known as organoids/spheroids, give more physiological responses than 2D models and may be suitable replacement for animal models.

Hooke Bio's Epona has the ability to culture, drug and stain MPS’s at higher throughput than existing technologies while analysing physiological metrics relevant to drug functionality and toxicity in real time through a fully automated integrated fluorescent microscope. The Hooke Bio system comes in two parts, a Bioconsumable plate and the Epona platform.  Our system has the ability to feed, wash, drug, and/or stain MPS’s within the bioconsumable plate and has the ability to maintain and treat up to 800 MPS’s simultaneously.

To benchmark Epona against existing 3D culture systems, HepG2 spheroids were cultured on the bioconsumable plate in Epona and compared to spheroids grown on a microplate in an incubator. The spheroids were stained with Calcein AM (response shown in green indicating good viability) and EthD-1 (response shown in red indicating low levels of apoptosis). In addition to viability, the recirculation fluidics can support inter spheroid signaling mimicking the fluidic systems in the human body. Epona has also been benchmarked against an Olympus IX70 microscope showing the two systems give equivalent outputs. Inhouse image analysis software was developed to facilitate reproducible meaurement of physiological reponses in MPS's. Using this software, the reponse to MPS's exposed to Paracetamol (APAP). Data generated on the Epona system demonstrates that HepG2 spheroids exposed to APAP give similar levels of cell death in comparison to spheroids cultured in microplates also exposed to APAP.  


Hooke Bio's technology is unique in its ability to culture MPS's at scales required for drug screening. Epona supports fluidic recirculation mimicking conditions within the human body and its integrated optics to allow for live MPS metric assessment.

Further information is detailed in the video below.