Three European technology SMEs, together with two research institutions, Oxford University and Imperial College London, have been awarded €2.5 million funding from the European commission under the H2020 Fast Track to Innovation (FTI) pilot, to develop and launch a cell metabolism analysis platform that is predicted to be part of routine in vitro cell biology and drug development.
The importance of advanced cell-based assays in preclinical drug discovery and development has risen significantly in recent years, with a major focus on cell metabolism and the use of models that better represent physiological and pathological conditions in cancer, cardiovascular and other diseases. This trend is not surprising considering 10-year timelines, steep costs associated with the development of new drugs (est. c. 2bn per drug) and the link between cell metabolism and drug failure.
Led by Luxcel Biosciences, the consortium will demonstrate a Gold Standard platform, comprising cell assays, disease models and services, together with high performance metabolism tests designed for use on laboratory standard instrumentation—the multi-mode microtiter plate reader.
"MetaCell-TM delivers a real alternative to expensive dedicated instrumentation, providing researchers with flexible, cost-effective access to tools measuring cell metabolism, bioenergetics and drug toxicity. We are delighted to partner with Axiogenesis and BMG LABTECH, who are recognised global leaders in iPSC-derived cell assays and advanced plate reader technology, to co-develop end-user solutions with direct impact on disease research and drug development," said Dr. Ian Hayes, commercial & operations director, Luxcel Biosciences Ltd.
"We are excited to gain early access to this new platform and cell assays to complement our research. The system offers an easy to use format for studying metabolism that is not currently available," said Professor Adrian L Harris, Oxford University Department of Oncology.