Cellectricon launches new chip for hERG studies

By Wai Lang Chu

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Pharmacology, Action potential

Cellectricon has launched a new chip for safety pharmacology and
hERG studies, which aims to provide a solution to the current need
for increased throughput and data quality in ion channel drug
discovery that has plagued drug researchers.

The newly developed Dynaflow 8-channel microfluidic chip (DF-8 Pro II Chip) has designed for cumulative dose-response work and/or screening of slow acting compounds on non-desensitising ion channels.

The DF-8 Pro II Chip has been beta-tested by the Swiss ion channel CRO bSys GmbH, who studied a variety of hERG inhibitory substances with results demonstrating the system performance as ideally suited for safety pharmacology studies. Cellectricon is offering its Dynaflow microfluidic Chips in 8-, 16- or 48- channels.

The chips are designed to complement Cellectricon's Dynaflow Pro II system, a computer controlled microfluidic chip-based system for patch-clamp-based ion channel drug screening.

While popular, the patch-clamp method technique suffers from throughput restrictions due to its laborious nature, creating a bottleneck in the ion channel drug discovery process.

Cellectricon aims to meet the need for high-throughput electrophysiology systems enabling screening of all types of ion channels at low cost while still maintaining the high information content offered by classic patch clamp screening.

While efforts have been made in developing parallel patch-clamp devices that automate and multiplex the number of patch-clamped cells, these improvements comes at a price, being reduced recording quality, and loss of flexibility and control during the experiment.

Cellectricon​ claims that Dynaflow enables novel ion channel experiments, offering less cost per data point. It also reduces the amount of reagent needed for testing.

Thus, the system is additionally suited for assays in the drug discovery process where optimal data quality really is essential, for example lead optimisation and hERG testing.

"We have incorporated the Dynaflow system and the new DF-8 Pro II Chip into our cardiac safety assessment services. The system enabled us to perform standardised and reproducible GLP hERG studies of ion channels,"​ said Dr Daniel Konrad, CEO of bSys.

The purpose of a safety pharmacology study is to predict in laboratory animals the potentially adverse effects of new drug candidates when given at relevant therapeutic dose levels.

Data obtained from such studies helps to reassure Ethical Review Committees that it is safe to proceed with studies in humans. The data provides assurance to the clinicians who will carry out the first administration to humans and help them to be aware of any potential side effects they might expect to see.

Ultimately, the goal is to safeguard volunteers who will receive the first doses of a new compound. Safety pharmacology studies are usually divided into two categories: core studies, which are essential; and supplemental studies, which are conducted when necessary depending on the type of drug, route of administration and results obtained from the core studies.

Related topics: Preclinical Research

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