Metrion leases facility, adds high-throughput capacity to support ion channel services

By Nick Taylor

- Last updated on GMT

© Andrew Brookes / Getty Images
© Andrew Brookes / Getty Images

Related tags Metrion Biosciences Contract research organisation Drug discovery

Metrion Biosciences has leased a new facility and added high-throughput screening (HTS) capacity to support its ion channel drug discovery projects.

The Cambridge, U.K.-based contract research and drug discovery company offers services including ion channel screening, for which it uses electrophysiology, label-free, and fluorescence-based platforms to generate data on membrane proteins that are involved in a range of core physiological processes.

Ion channel malfunction drives many human diseases, making the proteins a target of drug discovery efforts and creating a need for ways to understand the potency and specificity of compounds designed to hit them.

Metrion already supports drug developers with ion channel screening services. Now, the service provider is adding HTS capabilities and more capacity as it seeks to build on its recent progress.

Following significant growth in Metrion’s global business in 2022, particularly within the USA, the newly acquired space will ensure our ambitious plan for global commercial expansion continues to gather momentum. The launch of our HTS capability adds another layer of depth to our ion channel drug discovery services and complements our automated and conventional electrophysiology services​,” said Andrew Southan, chief executive of Metrion.

Metrion has signed a nine-year lease to add 8,160 square feet of space next to its headquarters in Cambridge, bringing its total footprint at the Granta Park site up to 20,000 square feet.

The capacity expansion is advancing alongside a capability expansion, with Metrion installing 384 well screening via FLIPR Penta and Qube-384 for HTS and adding an Agilent Bravo liquid handling robot to its suite of automated sample preparation and compound handling instruments.

By establishing a HTS capability, Metrion is able to offer a service that enables our clients to identify hit compounds at a significantly earlier phase in the drug discovery process. In doing so, we will be able to form longer term relationships with our clients where we continue to support them through the hit-to-lead and lead optimisation phases​,” said a spokesperson for the company.

Scott Maidment has joined the company to lead the HTS expansion. As Metrion’s head of HTS, the new hire will use experience gained at companies including Charles River Laboratories, another provider of ion channel screening services, to support the incorporation of high-throughput technologies into new and existing projects.

Metrion disclosed the expansion shortly before sharing details of a collaboration with The KCNC1 Foundation to develop ion channel modulators for an ultra-rare genetic disorder. The project is focused on small molecule modulators of the potassium ion channel Kv3.1, targeting KCNC1-related disorders.

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