Drug Development

Southern Research Broadens Preclinical Services in Drug Development with CytoPatch™

December 9, 2014

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – December 9, 2014 – Southern Research is broadening its preclinical service offerings in drug development with the addition of Good Laboratory Practices (GLP)-compliant in vitro safety pharmacology testing. Safety pharmacology testing relates to the study of potentially undesirable pharmacodynamic effects of a new product in both the in vitro and in vivo settings. Current methodologies include measuring ionic currents in cells over-expressing individual ion channels. In its GLP-compliant laboratories, Southern Research recently implemented an in vitro screening program on CytoPatch™ – the automated patch clamp platform – and successfully demonstrated in vitro hERG ion channel blocking by drug candidates.

This type of work has traditionally been conducted at room temperature, but with the CytoPatch™ system, Southern Research is able to operate at a physiologically relevant 37 degrees Celsius. Administering these studies at this temperature resulted in generally higher currents, leading to differences in the activity of the tested compounds. Work is ongoing to expand this service to other relevant ion channels, specifically, Kir 2.1, early and late Nav and Kv7.1mink. By using an automated system to perform these assays, the throughput of compounds and the reproducibility of data both increase.

Southern Research has a rich history of supporting preclinical drug discovery and development programs for a broad array of clients and has significant experience in generating study data that can be used to support regulatory submissions. The changing regulatory landscape, with respect to cardiac arrhythmia risk assessment, is of particular importance in drug development. There is a crucial need for systems that can effectively provide reliable data to make these assessments.

“We see a real need for service providers that can present clients with solutions to changing regulatory requirements and provide robust datasets to drive compound selection and development in the most cost effective and timely manner possible,” said Andrew D. Penman, Ph.D., vice president of drug development at Southern Research. “We firmly believe that there is a need for more relevant and robust systems that can be used to address the current preclinical testing paradigm, and Southern Research is currently focusing on investment in these areas.”

About Southern Research

Founded in 1941 in Birmingham, Alabama, Southern Research is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) scientific and engineering research organization that conducts preclinical drug discovery and development, advanced engineering research in materials, systems development, and environment and energy research. Approximately 500 team members support clients and partners in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, defense, aerospace, environmental, and energy industries in facilities in Alabama, Maryland, North Carolina, Georgia, and Texas.

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