Hayward, CA- October 13, 2004 - Biolog, Inc. announced today that it has received a Phase II SBIR grant for $2.5 million from the National Institute of Health. This is to extend its revolutionary Phenotype MicroArray™ (PM) assay platform in toxicological cell-based assays. The company has already developed a battery of cell assays in its innovative Phenotype MicroArray™ technology for use with human and mouse cell lines under the Phase I portion of this grant. The goal of the Phase II grant is to further develop the cell based assay as an in vitro replacement to animal models in some applications of toxicology testing. This capability will be added to the current uses of the PM technology in testing microbial cells, specifically bacteria, yeast, and filamentous fungi.
Phenotype MicroArrays represent a fundamental platform technology that allows scientists to easily and efficiently test hundreds to thousands of cellular traits simultaneously. The technology has the promise of determining cellular phenotypic expression in many areas of research and development. The two most important near term applications are using PMs to determine the effect of genetic changes on cells and to determine the effect of drugs on cells. This new work is specifically intended to further the technology for use in predictive toxicology. The toxicological effects of a drug can change dramatically, depending on the physiological state of a cell. A key and unique advantage of PM technology is that using living cells, the PM assays allow scientists to detect effects of a drug under hundreds to thousands of states of a cell.
Predicting how a drug will behave in humans before clinical testing requires a battery of sophisticated in vitro tests that complement traditional expensive in vivo safety assessments. In vitro assays attempt to mimic in vivo conditions but always involve an element of uncertainty. One approach to solving this problem has been the use of in vitro screens to identify early on the characteristics of a new chemical entity, particularly with the respect to its metabolism and toxicity. Early drug metabolism models help predict a compound's elimination from the body and metabolic stability. More elaborate in vitro models can identify which enzyme systems play a role in elimination, which help predict drug-drug interactions, as well as the potential for the compound of interest to induce enzyme systems to eliminate other drugs. Phenotype MicroArrays provide the promise of an in vitro assay using living cell lines, allowing rapid characterization of chemical entities, while also providing metabolic information about the drug – cell interaction. The PM human cell assays have already been used with both attached and suspended cell lines. Phenotype MicroArrays are in vitro cell assays which allow researchers to develop new predictive models.
Biolog, a privately held company based in Hayward , CA is a pioneer in the development of powerful new cell analysis tools for solving critical problems in clinical, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology research and development. The company’s Phenotype MicroArray™ technology and OmniLog® PM System can be used in the discovery and development of new drugs as well as bioactive agents for animal and plant applications. Further information can be obtained at the company’s website, www.biolog.com.