Tianwei Jing, President
They say the first step is always the hardest. Perhaps the drug development industry is an exemplar for this notion. While different stages in the drug development process have their own unique challenges, initial drug discovery stands out with its unmatched complexity. Typically, a pharmaceutical company enters the drug discovery stage with 10,000 compound molecules to test for their efficacy and safety, reducing them to 250 compounds before starting with pre-clinical trial. A key parameter to screen drug candidates, efficacy refers to the maximum achievable response from a drug and its capacity for sufficient therapeutic effect.
As efficacy acts as an indicator for the success of a drug molecule, accuracy in its measurement becomes crucial for streamlined drug discovery. But achieving accuracy is daunting. Due to lack of tools, developers employ artificial model testing, which does not fully inform the real efficacy of a drug candidate. As a result, the drug screening process is rendered inefficient, resulting in longer trial and error periods, time-to-market delays, and unnecessary cost amounting to millions of dollars.
Against this challenging backdrop, Biosensing Instrument (BI), a life sciences company, is turning the corner for the pharma and research organizations with its unique biotech instrumentation solutions aimed at helping researchers take the right step from the start. With BI’s solutions, pharma companies and clinical research organizations (CROs) can develop and maintain the natural condition of the human body in the outside environment during testing, which in turn, leads to accelerated lead discovery phase with favorable results. “Our surface plasmon resonance microscopy system SPRm200 helps drug development teams in resolving inefficiencies in early stages of the drug discovery process by enabling real efficacy measurements directly in live cells in conditions close to a living body,” says Tianwei Jing, President of BI.
Our surface plasmon resonance microscopy system SPRm200 helps drug development teams in resolving inefficiencies in early stages of the drug discovery process
As a result, drug developers can attain real efficacy data to screen drug candidates more efficiently at early stages and determine accurate drug dosage for clinical trials. Firms can save time and cost by avoiding mistakes and reducing drug attrition rate. “SPRm200 has been game-changing for pharmaceutical companies, such as Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Takeda, and Bristol-Myers Squibb, as well as academic institutions involved in early drug discovery R&D, particularly those involved in single cell analysis research,” says Jing.
Traditionally, most developers use fluorescence assays and radio-binding assays, which are slow due to a complex multi-step process. Moreover, they require tags attached to the molecules being studied, which may alter the property of the molecules and cause unwanted toxicity effects. Contrastingly, “Our tools for studying binding behavior provide real-time, label-free binding analysis of affinity and kinetics directly on live cells,” says Jing.
A case in point, BI helped a CRO streamline the development of a drug through precise efficacy measurement. The company’s SPRm200 helped the client unravel the startling reality that the accurate dosage required was 5-10 times greater than the previous assessments done through artificial model testing. With accurate potency data, the drug company was able to define the correct dosage of the drug much earlier, thus saving resources and time.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, BI has received many inquiries about its instrument’s capabilities for detecting COVID-19. Drug developers want to test the impact of potential drug candidates on human cells in conditions that are close in similarity to living body conditions at early stages of drug discovery. BI is looking forward to assist them with more accurate insights in screening drug candidates.
BI also plans to upgrade SPRm200 to address the unmet need in rapid early detection of viruses like COVID-19 to combat future pandemics to enable rapid viral detection. BI is also developing its platform in a smaller, portable format, apt for point of care facilities. Backed by a talented and experienced team, BI aims to conquer new horizons in the early drug discovery domain.