Ireland, Cork-based Luxcel Biosciences Ltd. develops assays that can be applied to enzymes, mitochondria, 3D cell-cultures and whole organisms.
One of the applications of MitoXpress is Respirometric Screening Technology (RST), a fluorescence-based assay for high-throughput analysis of oxygen consumption.
In January, HD Biosciences Co., Ltd. (HDB) was acquired by one of the major outsourcing competitors in China – WuXi AppTec.
Under the agreement, HD Biosciences will use Luxcel's MitoXpress platform, a plate-based optical sensing assay technology for preclinical safety testing services.
Mitochondrial dysfunction (MD) is a major contributor to drug‐induced toxicity, post‐market drug withdrawal, and black box warnings for hepatic and cardiac toxicity.
Richard Fernandes, CEO of Luxcel, told us, MD has risen in priority for many drug developers following the discontinuation of several drugs over recent decades, including cerivastatin, nefazodone and torglitazone.
“So the industry is looking at routinely screening for MD. Apart from their importance in drug toxicity, mitochondria and metabolism are important in the progression of a variety of diseases, such as cancer and diabetes,” he added.
“This is so pharma can generate more data that’s more enabling, and why CROs such as HDB are finding MitoXpress appealing,” Fernandes added. “Most importantly the MitoXpress kits can be used on fluorescence plate readers – the workhorse of the research laboratory and one of the most prevalent types of assay platforms. Which is why we differ from competitors.”
Manufacturing in Cork
Although the technology application was originally developed with Pfizer Inc., MitoXpress is wholly owned by Luxcel and is now widely used by the industry for ADMET screening.
Fernandes explained, “The core technology is owned by Luxcel 100%. Pfizer is an important customer of Luxcel, but [the firm] is actually an early adopter of the tech who we worked quite closely with.”
As spin-out of University College Cork (UCC), Fernandes told us Luxcel manufactures all the testing kits at its facilities nearby, and exports them using distribution partners, such as Sapphire for the US, New Zealand and Australia, Amsbio for the UK and Germany and Bio-Gene for Hong Kong and China.