Alcyomics® to Transform Drug Discovery for Osteoarthritis Treatment With Unique In Vitro Bio-Printed 3D Tissue Model.
In the UK, around 8.75 million people are currently diagnosed with Osteoarthritis (OA), a debilitating disease that affects the joints, resulting in pain, impaired movement and joint failure, all of which negatively impacts patient quality of life. Currently, the only effective disease modifying treatment for OA is complete joint replacement. The global pharmaceutical market for disease modifying OA treatment is large and growing, however, due to the difficulties involved with replicating the disease under laboratory conditions, these drugs are developed with extensive use of animal testing approaches. Inherent species differences can have significant effects on the quality of scientific data when applied to human disease.
This situation could fundamentally change with the successful application of in vitro testing methods for OA drug development. In vitro tests could significantly improve the testing process making it faster, cheaper, and more effective, substantially reducing the need for animal testing while at the same time improving the success rate of novel, disease modifying therapies during drug discovery and pre-clinical assessment.
Alcyomics has developed a unique in vitro model of the human osteoarthritic joint as a participant of the CRACK IT Innovation programme from the UK’s National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) in a project sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline and co-funded by Arthritis Research UK and EPSRC. Alcyomics’s model incorporates human bone, cartilage, and nerve lineages to mimic the human joint including pain sensitisation. Successful bioprinting of the model allows for consistent, high-throughput manufacture of the models to assist in large screening assays. Having successfully completed the development phase, Alcyomics has been awarded an NC3Rs Business Growth Scheme (BGS) project to commercialise its unique OA model as a wider offering to the pharmaceutical development market.
The Alcyomics OA model is set to transform OA drug development by improving predictivity, reducing costs, saving time, and significantly reducing the number of animal models used in OA research and drug development.
As a key stage of the BGS commercialisation project, Alcyomics is looking to collaborate with early adopters to further validate our osteochondral model, using it to test novel compounds or drugs provided by the collaborator and would welcome participants from both industry and academia.
“The CRACK IT programme aims to deliver 3Rs technologies into the hands of end-users for real world impacts, and this technology has the potential to replace and reduce animal use in study the progression of osteoarthritis and to test novel therapeutics. We look forward to continuing to work with Alcyomics during their Business Growth Scheme project which aims to commercialise the model so it is accessible to the bioscience community.” – Dr Cathy Vickers, Head of Innovation, NC3Rs
“Our model will be used to advance the identification of effective OA drugs, significantly improving existing methods, and will be the only commercially available in vitro OA model on the market for use in drug discovery and development,” said Professor Anne Dickinson, CEO and Founder of Alcyomics. “The support from NC3Rs has been instrumental in enabling us to develop this unique innovation and bring it to the market.”
The UK’s National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) supports the development of predictive, cost-effective and reproducible models, tools and technologies which replace, reduce or refine the use of animals in research (commonly referred to as the 3Rs). CRACK IT is a unique funding competition which focuses on developing and commercialising new technologies as they emerge from the science base into 3Rs products and services that are directly targeted to meet end-user needs.
A proven, experienced CRO and service-provider, Alcyomics has developed unique non-animal non-artificial human based in vitro assays that transform drug development by enabling early and accurate identification of safe and efficacious compounds. Our sensitive and highly customisable assays significantly improve the testing process making it faster and more effective than animal models for predicting clinical outcomes. We help clients reduce the cost of drug development, reduce the use of animal models and improve speed to market whilst providing an improved return on investment.
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