Is the chicken embryo model considered as in vitro or in vivo?

The chicken embryo model is indeed a complete in vivo model.


At the time of tumor cell grafting, on Day 9 of development (E9), most embryonic structures and embryonic organs are already developed and mature. The embryo is metabolically active as a complex organism with blood circulation, metabolic systems, catabolism pathways and functional immune system.


The model is considered as in vivo in scientific publications and the FDA approved this model as in vivo testing.

Is the chicken embryo model considered as animal testing? Do you have to address ethical regulations related to animal testing to perform studies on the chicken embryo model?

The European Directive 2010/63/EU on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes and French Regulations (Code Rural R214-89 to R214-137, last modified in 2013) covers the use of chicken embryos starting at Day 18 of development (E18). Thus, there are no ethical constraints for us, because our studies are stopped at Day 18.


Concerning US regulation, according to the NIH, avian organisms are considered to be “live vertebrate animals” only after hatching. As such, the use of chicken embryos does not need to be reviewed or approved by institutional animal care and use committees.


More details at:

What are the readouts expected out of the chicken embryo model?

INOVOTION’s model delivers robust, solid data on the following readouts:


–  Tumor proliferation by evaluating tumor weight (more precise and more accurate than tumor volume);
–  Angiogenesis by counting the number of blood vessels that irrigate the tumor;
–  Characterization of immune cell infiltration and anti-tumor immune response by RT-qPCR analysis of immune cell biomarkers inside the tumor;
–  Mortality rate of embryos (Kaplan-Meyer’s curve and final mortality rate) and abnormalities (22 check points) due to the treatments, and determination of Maximum Tolerated Dose (MTD); and
–  Histology analysis of tumors or chick’s organs.


Note that these readouts can be obtained within a single organism, which is not the case for most in vivo model.

Is the chicken embryo model predictable compared to other in vivo models?

Yes. Using our chicken embryo model, we were successful in obtaining data that correlated well with data obtained from previous mouse studies.


We have tested many types of compounds, from small molecules to antibodies, and have observed excellent correlation with published data in mice.  As for every in vivo model however, the choice of the treatment is an important parameter that must be well discussed and prepared prior to starting a study in ovo.

How much time does it take to complete the study?

The study timeline will depend on the project, many factors and requirements may have an impact on this timeline.  For a classical study using a calibrated cell line in our model, a validated reference compound at Inovotion, with 1 compound at 3 different doses for treatment, Inovotion delivers experimental data and a study report within 1 month of starting the study.

What types of cell lines do you work with?

We have standardised 46 cell lines covering 17 types of cancers, such as breast, liver, lung, kidney and others, in our portfolio and are continuously expanding the catalog of cell lines standardized in our model.  Furthermore, our R&D department develops custom models on-demand.


You can ask for the document “Standardized Cell Lines and Reference Compounds Portfolio” for more details on this page:

Have you validated your model with existing drugs?

Yes. More than 30 gold-standard molecules, including chemotherapeutics, radiotherapeutics, ADCs (Antibody-Drug Conjugates) and immuno-therapeutics, were tested and validated in our chicken embryo model.  As for cell lines, we are continuously adding new reference compounds.

What types of compounds are tested on your model?

We have performed over 400 projects with compounds ranging from small molecules, peptides, monoclonal antibodies, ADCs (Antibody-Drug Conjugates), bi-specific antibodies, proteins, natural compounds, oncolytic viruses, vesicles and nanostructures.  Compounds can be tested alone, in synergy, in sequence or in combination with other agents for chemotherapy, radiotherapy and/or immuno-therapy.

How do you establish dose regimen?

The choice of concentrations is an important parameter and must be discussed prior to starting a study by validating a detailed study protocol with suggested treatments, concentrations and dosing regimen based on your requirement and our expertise.

Can experiments to study metastasis be conducted with this model?

Yes. We can perform metastatic invasion analysis on individual organs like brain, liver, lung, kidney etc., based on your organs of interest pertaining to the type of studied cancer. Routinely, this assay is done using the lower chorioallantoic membrane.

Is the immune system of the chicken embryo functional at the time of the experiment?

Yes. The immune system is functional at day 10.5 of development.  The presence of circulating immune cells in chicken embryo (during the period of treatment) has been validated by FACS analysis and the infiltration of chicken T-cells, dendritic cells, natural killer cells and macrophages in grafted human tumors has also been validated in our in ovo model.

Who are your customers?

We offer our services to the academic community and a wide range of mid- and big-sized Pharma and Biotech companies.

Are you interested in R&D partnering?

Inovotion collaborates with many academic research centers or biotech companies. We are open to discuss about your project and grant opportunities. Potential collaborations are subject to strict criteria.

How much does your assay cost?

Our assays are specific to each project and deliver a range of readouts.  Hence, we will be happy to have a short discussion with you in order to evaluate your project’s parameters and provide an accurate cost estimate.

If you did not find an answer to your questions here, please contact us at or at +33 476 549 512.