“Introducing new assays, not only in the safety area, but in profiling and lead optimisation takes time”, John Nicholson, CEO and chairman and Gentronix, told Outsourcing-Pharma. While working through this “very frustrating” process Gentronix is adding cash generating assays.
This began last year with by adding the in vitro micronucleus test (MNT). Now Gentronix has added Ames, a regulatory screening test, to its portfolio of assays. Clients have asked Gentronix about Ames and it believes there is enough demand to make the expansion a success.
Ames MPF test can identify compounds likely to produce positive results in the regulatory Ames mutagenicity test earlier in development. This allows clients to save time and money by prioritising compounds for development.
Gentronix can offer further information through use of its GreenScreen and BlueScreen assays. In the embedded video Nicholson explains how BlueScreen is relevant to contract research organisations (CRO) and efforts to increase sales from its big pharma client.
If Ames is a success Gentronix will look to add one or two tech staff to its 15-strong workforce. The tech staff would be based at the Gentronix site in Manchester, UK but the company is also in the process of hiring its first overseas employee.
Having tried, with limited success, to grow in the US, Gentronix has recognised the importance of having someone based in the States. As such it is now recruiting a US-based employee.
Increasing sales in the US and convincing regulators of why GreenScreen is improtant are, after the short-term goal of establishing Ames services, the two main priorities at Gentronix.
A small acquisition is also possible. Gentronix now feels confident enough to make such a deal, said Nicholson, and is looking at a couple of genotoxicity-related opportunities.
An acquisition would further expand activities at Gentronix beyond GreenScreen, one of its proprietary assays. GreenScreen is accepted as a good assay, said Nicholson, but until regulatory tests change it will be difficult to increase use.
In addition to getting the assay accepted Gentronix must also convince others of the merits of screening earlier in development. Desire to cut attrition is helping this effort and there is some evidence big pharma is looking to do genotox earlier, said Nicholson.