The new imaging system is based upon FEI’s Tecnai Spirit cryo-transmission electron microscope (TEM) and three dimensional (3D) tomography software and will be used to monitor the production of drug-loaded vesicles as part of Sun Pharma’s QC system as well as assisting with the development of new formulations.
Cryo-TEM techniques enable researchers to study biological systems in their native, hydrated state without damaging fragile biological and soft-matter structures.
Because the samples are frozen cryogenically, the structures are preserved such that 3D images can be reconstructed and unique structure and function data obtained that would be lost using many alternative microscopy techniques.
FEI’s automated tomography software will allow the system to acquire and process thousands of images while unattended.
“The cost of developing drugs and bringing new products to market is enormous and rising yearly; having access to accurate and timely information is essential for making decisions on compounds in our pipeline,” said Dr Subhas Bhowmick, vice president of formulation development at Sun Pharmaceutical.
“We will use the FEI 3D imaging solution to gain a better understanding of the behaviour of the drug in the human body in an effort to develop therapeutics that not only are more effective, but also exhibit reduced side effects. The information will also help us to shorten the drug development process and bring new therapeutics to market faster.”
The 3D imaging system will also aid the pharmaceutical production process by enabling QC monitoring during the production of liposome-encapsulated drug formulations.
These delivery vehicles can be labelled with molecules that target specific biological sites, such as specific organs or tumour cells, and enable the targeted delivery of drugs without harming healthy tissue.
This in turn enables a reduction of drug dosage and a reduced risk of patients suffering from side-effects. Additionally, the liposomes can be engineered to control the release of the active ingredients so that manageable treatment schedules can be devised.
“We are pleased that Sun Pharmaceutical, one of India’s largest and most innovative pharmaceutical companies, has invested in FEI’s 3D imaging solution with the Tecnai Spirit TEM and tomography software package. The system will be used for research on some very exciting drug delivery systems, and we look forward to providing our support and expertise in this area,” said Matthew Harris, vice president and general manager of FEI’s Life Science Division.
“FEI is an ideal partner for ultra-structural investigation of small particles like proteins, viruses, liposomes, etc., and our solutions are specifically designed for the unique requirements of high-resolution life science imaging.”