J&JPRD and Hurel enter scientific collaboration

Related tags In vivo

Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development
(J&JPRD) and the Hurel Corporation have entered into a joint
scientific collaboration to develop microfluidic, technology, with
a view to launching the world's first in vitro test of first-pass
liver bioavailability in humans

The deal makes J&JPRD the first pharmaceutical company to enter a Joint Scientific Collboration (JSC) being organised by Hurel, who are holding discussions with several pharmaceutical firms that have also expressed interest in the JSC. Hurel projects its JSC laboratory activities to commence in the third quarter of 2005.

Under the agreement, J&JPRD will provide both scientific guidance and funding as Hurel performs a one-year research and development program aimed at validating its microfluidic, "in vivo-surrogate" cell-based assay platform technology, and readying Hurel's first product for general, commercial release.

Hurel Corporation is the developer of patented, microfluidic "in vivo-surrogate" assay platform technologies for cell-based studies. The Hurel device comprises a "biochip" on which reside a number of separate but microfluidically interconnected compartments.

The different compartments contain cultures of living cells drawn from and/or representing different organs or tissues of a living animal. Microfluidic channels between the compartments permit compounds and "blood surrogate" fluid to recirculate as in a living system.

The physical geometry of the system is designed to simulate certain physiological parameters, drug residence time, circulatory transit time, fluid-to-tissue volume ratios, or others, so as to mimic relevant aspects of the physiology of the living animal.

Robert Freedman, president and chief executive officer of Hurel Corporation​, said: "Hurel's technology will enable researchers to achieve experimental endpoints of dramatically improved concordance with, and predictive relevancy to, the in vivo performance of drugs in humans."

"Hurel's predictive accuracy will afford greatly improved selectivity in promoting preclinical drug candidates into animal studies, and as such Hurel will become an important new technological substitute for animal testing,"​ he added.

At present there are no simple, rapid preclinical tools to mimic the in vivo interplay of enzymes and transporters. What is needed is a simple flow-through assembly that must be amenable to incorporating hepatocytes and enterocytes from animal species but also, alternatively, from humans, and should be high-throughput.

"Such a novel preclinical tool would provide great insights into the ADME of new molecular entities, and expose the reasons for the discordance often found between the ADME characteristics of drug molecules across animal species versus humans,"​ said Leslie Benet, professor of pharmaceutical sciences at UCSF and chairman of Hurel's scientific advisory board.

The company hopes to become the first to launch the first in vitro test of first-pass liver bioavailability in humans. This comprises of a microfluidic circuit that models real-time protein binding, metabolism, and extraction in the liver.

Other Hurel applications slated for early development include devices customised for studying various multi-organ toxicities (e.g.liver/lung or liver/cardiac), as well as for studying the integrated mechanisms of absorption and bioavailability of orally administered compounds.

Related topics Preclinical Research

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