Cellular Dynamics International (CDI) announced today that it has entered an agreement with Roche Palo Alto, one of Roche’s five research facilities, to test candidate drug compounds for cardiotoxicity, or damage to heart tissue.
Under the agreement, Roche will supply CDI with 2 sets of 25 well-characterized drug compounds to validate CDI’s current toxicology products and services. CDI will test those compounds using human cardiomyocytes, or heart muscle cells, derived from human embryonic stem cells in cytotoxicity and electrical physiology. The goal of the project is to detect drug-induced changes in the electrical activity of the heart (for example, prolongation of the QT interval), noting abnormalities that cause the heart to beat faster, slower, or more irregular than normal. CDI will also work with Roche on cytotoxicity testing of the compounds in hopes of building predictive models of toxicology.
“We are very excited to be working with Roche in pioneering the use of human cardiomyocytes derived from human embryonic stem cells for cardiotoxicity testing,” said Nick Seay, Chief Technology Officer at CDI. “Because over 30% of all drug failures are a direct result of cardiotoxicology problems, our goal is to build the next generation of biological models.”
Chris Kendrick-Parker, CDI’s Vice President, Business Development, continued, “CDI is dedicated to developing solutions that will bridge the gap between in vitro testing of drug candidates and in vivo testing using animal models. Validating our unique platform for differentiated cells derived from human embryonic stem cells with a world leader in toxicology testing is the first step in using these cells in routine toxicology testing.”