It’s been quite a journey over the past 20 years!
In this blog, we travel down memory lane as we track how Cyprotex has grown to become one of world’s most well recognised and trusted ADME-Tox providers.
The story begins in April 1999 when Cyprotex was first established 20 years ago. Many will not be aware that Cyprotex was once part of a clinical CRO known as Medeval (now part of ICON Developments). At the time, Medeval wanted a facility to support their clients with understanding ADME and pharmacokinetics (PK). Strong science was a key quality of the organisation from the beginning and Medeval had strong links with academia including Professor Brian Houston’s Group at the University of Manchester. Professor David Leahy (previously Head of Physical Sciences at AstraZeneca) was also brought in to lead Cyprotex.
After an initial incubation period under Medeval, Cyprotex was keen to spread its wings and, in 2001, the company set up as its own legal entity. Shortly after, Cyprotex relocated from Manchester to a facility in Macclesfield in Cheshire, UK and, in February 2002, was listed on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange.
David Leahy’s interests lay in PBPK and predictive modelling techniques, and, in 2003, Cyprotex launched its first PBPK model for predicting human PK from in vitro physicochemical and ADME data. Cyprotex’s vision at that time also involved building a HT-ADME facility and a large investment program was undertaken to automate key processes through liquid handling robots, sophisticated analytics and an internally built LIMS system (named LabSys®). By combining the expertise of both scientists and software engineers, Cyprotex was able to build an extremely powerful system which is still used today through continual improvement of the workflows and processes. In fact, the launch of our HT-ADME facility back in 2003 was a turning point for Cyprotex. Introduction of the platform resulted in a number of strategic deals being signed which led the company to profitability in 2008. This highly successful platform has now been replicated at our Watertown facility allowing our US clients to benefit from the quality, time and cost advantages.
2010 was another key year in Cyprotex’s history. The company acquired Apredica, based in Watertown near Boston in the US. In addition to expanding our global reach, the acquisition gave us an enhanced range of in vitro toxicology capabilities. Since the acquisition, our toxicology capabilities have continued to grow rapidly with the introduction of a new UK toxicology facility, and a focus on R&D in this area. In February 2013, Cyprotex was one of the first companies to introduce HT-MEA with the introduction of our human eCiphr®Cardio service, and later our human neurotoxicity service (eCiphr®Neuro-Human). Our UK facility has led the way in the research of sophisticated organ-specific 3D cell-based models and, in 2015, we launched our first 3D cardiotoxicity model. Through this research, the industry is now recognising the potential benefits of using 3D models over traditional 2D models for predicting toxic effects.
In the early days, Cyprotex was recognised as a discovery stage CRO. However, due to the level of expertise of our scientists and differing requirements of our customer-base, our later stage development stage services have grown significantly over the years. These services include complex metabolite profiling and identification studies, as well as regulatory drug-drug interaction packages. By recruiting several key leaders in drug metabolism, transporters and analytical science we have now become a centre of excellence for these types of studies, and, since October 2015, have been able to cater for full EMA and FDA regulatory transporter and DDI packages.
We now are undertaking an exciting new chapter in our history as we have become part of the Evotec Group under the leadership of Dr Rob Riley, EVP of DMPK and ADME-Tox at Evotec. The benefits this offers to both our clients and staff are evident. We have relocated our UK operations to a state of the art facility at Alderley Park – a growing and vibrant scientific hub nestled within the Cheshire countryside. As part of the wider Evotec family, we can now offer our clients a much greater range of capabilities with services covering the complete drug discovery and preclinical development pipeline. Despite our success over the past 20 years, we recognise that we cannot stand still. We believe constant innovation and improvement are key to our future success. Throughout the Evotec Group, we are sharing our knowledge, skills and resources to investigate challenging scientific issues, which we believe will make a difference to future science and human health.
As the Cyprotex story heads towards its next chapter, we would like to thank our dedicated team of expert scientists and our loyal customer base for supporting the company over the past 20 years – you really have played a major part in our success story!