HμREL Corporation announced that it has entered into a multi-phase Research and Development collaboration with Sanofi Services Inc. Sanofi, an integrated global healthcare leader, discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions focused on patients’ needs.
Under terms of the collaboration agreement, Sanofi will fund a range of studies designed to evaluate the utility of HμREL’s cell-based products and technologies for pre-clinical drug development. Different aspects of the collaboration will be carried out in HμREL’s laboratories in North Brunswick, N.J., as well as in various Sanofi R&D locations in both the United States and Europe. HμREL and Sanofi intend to share the results of their R&D collaboration through one or more co-authored, peer-reviewed scientific publications.
“Through collaborating with our network of internal and external partners, Sanofi R&D focuses on translating the findings of basic research more quickly and efficiently into meaningful healthcare solutions,” said Marc Bonnefoi, head of Sanofi’s North America R&D Hub. “Our partnership with HμREL is an opportunity to leverage an innovative new life sciences technology to accelerate drug development and impact the lives of patients.”
The initial phase of the R&D collaboration will aim to validate HμREL’s HμRELhuman 3-D liver tissue co-culture for use across an array of experimental requirements that are typically addressed during the pre-clinical phase of drug discovery and development. These applications include both toxicological studies, which probe to predict and potentially improve the safety of a prospective new medicine before it is prescribed to humans; as well as studies of drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics, which aim to understand and predict how the body’s innate biochemical mechanisms may determine a drug’s absorption and distribution through different organs, its molecular breaking down and transformation, and its eventual elimination from the body.
Subsequent phases of the collaboration are planned to broaden the range of validated applications, as well as to cover HμREL’s HμRELflow microfluidic assay platform, in which the liquid culture medium containing the molecular entity under study is recirculated in a microfluidic pathway, analogously to how the bloodstream recirculates through the various organs of the body.
HμREL CEO Robert Freedman said: “Sanofi anchors its approach to R&D in the conviction that new life sciences technologies can be of practical value only when they can translate from the laboratory benchtop all the way to a new medicine that is demonstrably safe and of novel efficacy in humans, and that receives regulatory approval. We are honored and thrilled to have such a company as Sanofi choose to be our R&D collaboration partner. And we are confident that HμREL’s technology constitutes the kind of game-changing translational tool for which both drug developers and the regulators have been waiting.”
HμREL Corporation’s patent-pending HμRELhuman in vitro liver tissue construct utilizes a proprietary co-culture of primary cryopreserved human hepatocytes (i.e., actual human liver cells) to deliver highly sensitive and accurate predictions of the liver-mediated effects of drugs on humans. Compared to other in vitro methods, HμRELhuman is distinguished not only by its predictive accuracy and responsiveness, but also by its long endurance (maintaining its functionality over weeks instead of over the days or hours typical of most in vitro systems in use today); the stability of the results it delivers over time; and its ease, convenience, and practicality of use in industrial laboratory settings. In addition to HμRELhuman, the company offers companion products HμRELdogand HμRELrat, which enable the comparison of a drug candidate’s test results across human, large-animal and small-animal species. A future product, the HμRELflow microfluidic assay platform, is currently in its beta-test phase of development.