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InSphero Receives € 750K Funding from EU-ToxRisk Consortium

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InSphero AG has been awarded € 750K in funding over six years as part of the € 30 MM EU-ToxRisk collaborative project funded by Horizon 2020.

An international consortium of 39 partner organizations will be funded by the European Commission to work on the integration of new concepts for regulatory chemical safety assessment. These new concepts involve cutting-edge human-relevant in vitro non-animal methods and in silico computational technologies to translate molecular mechanistic understanding of toxicity into safety testing strategies. The ultimate goal is to deliver reliable, animal-free hazard and risk assessment of chemicals.

Coordinated by Bob van de Water, Professor of Toxicology at the University Leiden (The Netherlands), EU-ToxRisk has the ambition to become the flagship in Europe for animal-free chemical safety assessment. The project will integrate advancements in cell biology, omics technologies, systems biology and computational modelling to define the complex chains of events that link chemical exposure to toxic outcome.

The consortium will provide proof of concept for a new mechanism-based chemical safety testing strategy with a focus on repeated-dose systemic toxicity as well as developmental and reproductive toxicity. Importantly, novel mechanism-based test methods will be integrated in fit-for-purpose testing batteries that are in line with the regulatory framework and will meet industrial implementation.

EU-ToxRisk will develop new ab initio quantitative risk assessment approaches based on understanding of so-called “Adverse Outcome Pathways” incorporating all mechanistic toxicity data available in the public domain. It will also achieve a rapid improvement of so-called “read across” approaches as the most important data-gap filling and hence animal-saving alternative method at present. Thus, the project strives towards faster safety evaluation of the many chemicals used by industry and the society.

InSphero CSO and co-founder Dr. Jens Kelm says the award, “serves as a key indicator of the value being placed on advanced 3D models in the project, as they provide greater longevity to enable repeat-dose testing in vitro, and improved biological relevance and mechanistic accuracy relative to traditional 2D cell culture models. Much of the in silico and predictive modelling algorithms are based upon large amounts of data accumulated using 2D models, so 3D microtissues stand to be a valuable resource in helping to update and refine that data to increase its predictive value. We are excited to lend our expertise in developing and producing a diverse range of organotypic microtissues, implementing state-of-the-art 3D optimized assays, and integrating microtissues into Body-on-a-Chip systems to advance the aims of the consortium.”