GeneGo, Inc. has announced that Elan Pharmaceuticals has joined the MetaTox Consortium. The Consortium, led by Dr. Richard Brennan, will be focused on developing systems biology tools for safety assessment of small molecule compounds and biological therapeutics.
This effort will include expanding the existing tools in the MetaDiscovery™ platform with toxicity ontologies, developing ”knowledge-based” predictive models (functional descriptors), manual reconstruction of toxicity pathways in human and relevant preclinical model species, and the development of simplified workflows for analyzing and reporting systems toxicology data. These tools will enable the members to leverage their diverse molecular toxicology data in an integrated “systems’ perspective that has not been available until now.
“The MetaTox Consortium is a cost effective vehicle for the members to develop software and expand content in systems toxicology,” said Julie Bryant, Vice President of Business Development for GeneGo.
“The Consortium will propose the deliverables, to be voted on and prioritized by the members, and GeneGo will then develop and deliver the agreed-upon content and software with members’ input. All the members joining to date have said that they could not perform this amount of work internally for the membership fee, which helped to justify the business model.”
“Despite the increasing deployment of new technologies probing the molecular basis of chemical toxicity, too many investigational drugs still fail in clinical trials due to human toxicity unseen in pre-clinical safety assessment”, said Dr. Richard Brennan, Director of Toxicology at GeneGo.
“The Consortium, which includes representatives from industry and from FDA, believes that part of the problem lies in a lack of appropriate data analysis tools to properly integrate the multiple data types generated by data-rich ‘omics technologies, and to convert findings from cell-based and animal models into meaningful human risk-assessments,” Dr. Brennan continued.
“We will focus on developing novel predictive models, while expanding our knowledge-base of toxicity information, and developing new software for ‘omics data analysis in a systems biology perspective. Alongside GeneGo’s expertise in identifying and mapping differences in human and model-species biology, these tools will facilitate a better assessment of the potential for human toxicity from preclinical tests, increasing the quality of, and confidence in, new compounds going into clinical trials. They will also contribute to understanding the causes of failure for compounds that drop out of trials, or are withdrawn from the market, for safety reasons, allowing these liabilities to be screened out of follow-up molecules.”