Asterand Subsidiary BioSeek and US EPA Expand ToxCast™ Collaboration
News Feb 01, 2012
Asterand plc has announced that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has expanded its collaboration and Phase II funding commitment with Asterand’s subsidiary BioSeek LLC.
Under the EPA ToxCast™ screening program, BioSeek is employing its unique BioMAP® Systems human primary cell assay platform to predict the biological activity and potential toxicity of environmental and other chemicals on human health.
The new agreement provides $696,000 in additional funding for BioSeek and adds a further 100 compounds to the more than 1000 environmental compounds, pesticides, failed pharmaceuticals, and nanomaterials already analyzed using BioMAP Systems in this ongoing effort.
“Through our work with EPA, BioMAP is yielding a rich harvest of biological information on a wide variety of environmental and other chemicals and their potential effects on human health,” said Ellen Berg, Ph.D., General Manager of BioSeek.
Berg continued, “The long-term goal of the ToxCast™ program is to establish in vitro assays that can forecast the toxicity of chemical compounds and other materials in humans and animals, and several of our primary human cell assays are contributing to predictive models in this effort.”
“As later phases of the ToxCast program include a variety of pharmaceutical compounds,” Dr. Berg continued, “our proprietary BioMAP compound database is gaining a rich dataset for mining with our pharmaceutical partners, to help understand the activities and potential safety of their own compounds in the context of human biology. Such insights can then be applied to better prioritize compounds in development prior to undertaking costly human clinical trials.”
“We commend EPA’s efforts to develop superior techniques for predicting the potential health risks of environmental chemicals through its ToxCast program,” said Jack Davis, Chairman and Interim Chief Executive Officer of Asterand plc. “We look forward to continuing our support of the EPA in this endeavour.”
A form of the hallucinogenic party drug ketamine has cleared one of the final hurdles toward clinical use as an antidepressant. During a meeting at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in Silver Spring, Maryland, an independent advisory panel voted 14-2 in favor of recommending a compound known as esketamine for use in treating depression.READ MORE