Release date: 2008-03-18

Advances in Cell Based Assays Offer Promise for the Discovery of New Drug Candidates

(PRZOOM - Press & Newswire) —  London, United Kingdom, 2008-03-18 - The drug discovery process has changed dramatically over the past decade and continues to evolve in response to new discoveries and technologies


There is also increasing demand to produce more drug candidates and decrease attrition during drug development. Recent advances in cell culture robotic technology have grown out of the need to maximise efficiency and minimise the possibility of errors, contamination and failure associated with high-throughput cell culture.

In addition, the trends towards assay miniaturisation and multiplexing for high-throughput and ultrahigh-throughput have been triggered by the necessity to reduce development and operational costs. Despite advances in cell based assay technology, numerous bottlenecks still need to be addressed in drug discovery for the identification of novel drug candidates.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, European Cell Based Assays Markets, finds that the market for cell based assay kits earned revenues of $66.2 million in 2007 and estimates this to reach $220.1 in 2014.

As pharmaceutical companies strive to improve the cost effectiveness of their drug discovery programmes, it is becoming apparent that considerable amounts of money are lost on compounds that fail late in the drug discovery process because of their toxicity.

"Over the past decade, various initiatives have been taken to improve the science of predicting toxicity and improving extrapolation to humans, including the use of cell based assays to enhance predictions," notes Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Dr. Laleh Safinia. "The revolution in the drug discovery process has recently demonstrated emerging lab disciplines and technology platforms in the area of cell based assay screening, holding great promise for the discovery of new drug targets."

Drug targets derived from genomics and proteomics projects have sparked the interest of pharmaceutical, biotechnology and drug discovery companies in screening large numbers of compounds using cell based assays in an ultrahigh-throughput format. Progress and advances in a number of technologies have made the utilisation of live cells in high-throughput screening and high-content screening assays an attractive option in the drug discovery process.

Partnerships and alliances between active participants within this industry will allow the acquisition of new molecules, increase profitability and offer a pipeline of other drugs in development as well as remove some of the bottlenecks within drug discovery.

Cell based assays are an important aspect of the drug discovery process. However, there is a growing need for reliable and robust assay kits to enable the effective standardisation of assays and a reduction in variability. For researchers using automated screening systems, the stability and compatibility of reagents with robotic components is often a concern, resulting in high cost of operation.

"The assay reagent must be stable at ambient temperature; signal generated by the assay should be stable for an adequate period of time to be able to monitor cells over a period of time," says Dr. Safinia. "Thus, HTS requires the optimisation of HTS assays and protocols. Approximately $200 million could be saved through more productive discovery programs or cell based assay screens that boost clinical success rates."

With the increase in demand for new drugs, the degree of competition among the drug discovery companies is also intensifying. The initial investment is considerable; however, the scope for new drug target and profit margins is also high.

"There is, therefore, a heightened need for target validation technology to verify the correct target through advances in assay protocols, novel technologies and reliable data analyses," comments Dr. Safinia. "Identifying the correct drug target through the use of genomics, proteomics and chemical libraries for drug discovery is a critical bottleneck in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries."

There have been tremendous efforts by the pharmaceutical industry to improve cell based screening platforms to expedite target validation as well as for use in preclinical trials. In order to understand the complexity of biological systems and accelerate the hit-to-lead process, recent advances in microfluidic technologies and automation have attracted a lot of attention with promising applications in cell based biosensors and drug screening.

In addition, considerable efforts are being made to improve the science of predicting the toxicology of emerging clinical candidates to reduce the ADME/Tox failure of drug candidates.

If you are interested in a virtual brochure, which provides manufacturers, end users, and other industry participants with an overview of the European cell based assays markets, then send an email to Patrick Cairns, Corporate Communications, at pcairns_pr[.], with your full name, company name, title, telephone number, company email address, company website, city, state and country. Upon receipt of the above information, an overview will be sent to you by email.

European Cell Based Assays Markets is part of the Drug Discovery Technologies Growth Partnership Service programme, which also includes research in the following markets: Contract Research Organisations (CROs) Markets in Europe, Nucleic Acid Isolation Markets in Europe and Advances in Laboratory Automation Markets in Europe. All research included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends that have been evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants. Interviews with the press are available.

Frost & Sullivan, the Global Growth Consulting Company, partners with clients to accelerate their growth. The company's Growth Partnership Services, Growth Consulting and Career Best Practices empower clients to create a growth focused culture that generates, evaluates and implements effective growth strategies. Frost & Sullivan employs over 45 years of experience in partnering with Global 1000 companies, emerging businesses and the investment community from more than 30 offices on six continents.

European Cell Based Assays Markets - M0E6


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