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Cyprotex and InSphero announce launch of new 3D microtissue service

6 September, 2012 - Cyprotex PLC (LSE: CRX), the specialist preclinical contract research organisation (CRO), and InSphero AG, experts in three dimensional microtissue research, announce a joint service offering which combines the expertise of both companies to provide customers with advanced cellular models of drug-induced toxicity in the liver.

The new liver toxicology screening service will use InSphero’s 3D InSightTM liver model and will be performed at Cyprotex’s laboratories, where customers will have the benefit of Cyprotex’s extensive expertise in ADME and toxicology.  The liver model has the advantage that the cells are viable for a longer time period and so multiple dose studies can be performed over an extended time course.

Hepatotoxicity (liver toxicity) is one of the most common reasons for drug withdrawal through drug-induced toxicity.  Conventional preclinical toxicology studies fail to predict human hepatotoxicity in approximately 50% of cases.  This has led to an urgent need for human cell-based in vitro models which are representative of the native organ.

The current industry approach is to use cells in a single layer culture (known as a 2D monolayer).  There have been recent significant advances in the field of three-dimensional (3D) cellular models and InSphero has invented a unique high throughput approach to generating 3D microtissues from single cells.  InSphero's microtissues have the advantage of being completely scaffold-free and do not rely on a bioartificial matrix for reformation.  This leads to highly functional microtissues, which show stable enzyme activity over extended periods of time.  Compared to 2D cultures, 3D microtissues more closely mimic native tissues and organs and form natural cell-to-cell attachments.  Both single cell type and multiple cell type models can be produced.

Commenting on the joint offering, Dr. Anthony Baxter, the Chief Executive Officer of Cyprotex, said:  “A key objective of our research is to improve the extrapolation of in vitro data to the clinical situation.  3D microtissues more closely mimic the native tissues in the body and, as such, are more predictive of the in vivo processes when compared with existing 2D models.  The interest in 3D cell models is expanding rapidly, and these models are likely to impact greatly in the development of new therapies, especially in the area of oncology, and in our ability to predict drug-related toxicity in man.”

Dr Jan Lichtenberg, Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of InSphero, commented:  “With Cyprotex, we have found an excellent partner to help industry take full advantage of our highly functional 3D liver microtissues.  Our joint offering combines leading 3D cell-culture expertise with the proven ADME-Tox experience of a world-leading specialist.  This assures high-quality data and reliable processes for our fee-for-service customers and makes advanced, predictive toxicology testing easily available to drug developers worldwide.”

For further information:

Cyprotex PLC Tel: +44 (0) 1625 505 100
Dr Anthony Baxter, Chief Executive Officer
John Dootson, Chief Financial Officer
Mark Warburton, Chief Operating Officer and Legal Counsel

InSphero AG Tel: +41-44-515049-0
Dr Jan Lichtenberg, Chief Executive Officer

Singer Capital Markets Limited (broker to Cyprotex) Tel: +44 (0)20 7496 3000
Shaun Dobson
Claes Spang

FTI Consulting Tel: +44 (0) 20 7831 3113
Simon Conway
Mo Noonan


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