HUB (Hubrecht Organoid Technology) | Utrecht, The Netherlands | MCO-170 series

Utrecht-based HUB wants to become the world’s leading organoid centre

Since its founding in 2013, the number of HUB (Hubrecht Organoid Technology) employees has almost doubled every year, to more than 40 today. CEO Robert Vries believes this exponential growthwill continue for a while: ‘We are currently receiving more project requests for primarily diagnostics and screening than we can take on. And with the major steps currently being taken in the field of personalised medicine, this number will certainly increase.’

More than 10 years after the cultivation of the first organoid – at the Hubrecht Institute by Toshiro Sato in the group headed by Hans Clevers – the path to commercial applications is open. So says Robert Vries, who has been working since 2013 to make HUB (Hubrecht Organoid Technology) the world’s leading organoid centre. At the core of this ambitious goal is the exclusive licence for the patents for making organoids out of adult stem cells, called ASC organoids. These patents, which stem from the research done at the Hubrecht Institute – a KNAW (Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences) institute – are the property of the KNAW. ‘With this licence, for which we pay the KNAW an annual fee, we can commercially exploit the technology in the form of licences and/or research and development work for primarily pharmaceutical companies. The benefit of this expanded patent portfolio, which includes over 50 patents in 14 patent classes and encompasses all aspects of (making) the ASC organoids, is that companies that want to work with such organoids cannot circumvent us,’ says Robert Vries.