A contract research organisation (CRO) is a valuable resource for drug companies and product developers to gain insight into the effects their compounds and chemicals have on the human body, the environment or both. In a non-clinical CRO, there are several highly specialised tools that aid in accurate analysing and reporting a broad range of properties from diverse test articles.
- LC-MS/MS – Liquid chromatograpy-mass spectrometry is one of the core tools used in ADME sample analysis. It is highly sensitive and provides valuable data required to understand a compound’s ADME, pharmacokinetics and metabolic profile.
- Liquid Handling Robots – Robots can work faster, more precisely and less expensively than people. High throughput liquid handlers allow large numbers of samples to be generated very quickly and robustly leading to improvements in efficiency and quality.
- High Content Imaging – Also called High Content Screening (HCS) or High Content Analysis (HCA). High Content Imaging is a type of microscopy that uses fluorescent dyes or fluorescently labelled antibodies to elucidate how a chemical affects cellular health. HCS is particularly powerful in toxicology and cytotoxicity assessment. It also has significant utility in screening and target validation, providing the ability to screen massive libraries of compounds in a short timeframe.
- Microelectrode Array (MEA) – MEA instruments are valuable in assessing the function of cells with electrophysiological characteristics like cardiomyocytes and neurons. MEA assays can be run in a high throughput environment, with some platforms capable of analysing 96-well plates. Not only can certain MEA assays evaluate electrophysiological changes and impairments in cells, but some can the specific mechanism of action (MOA).
- 3D Microtissues – Three dimensional microtissues show tremendous promise in in vitro These are cultured from multiple cell types that form a microtissue spheroid that is essentially a tiny organ. The 3D microtissues exhibit metabolic activity and are robust enough for extended dosing and exposure assays. Because they are structured similarly to actual organ tissue, they may provide more physiologically-relevant data than standard 2D models.