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ZYOXEL ANNOUNCES EXCLUSIVE AGREEMENT TO COMMERCIALIZE LIVERCHIP™ TECHNOLOGY
Oxford, United Kingdom, 12 March, 2012 – Under the terms of an exclusive agreement with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Zyoxel has secured rights to develop and commercialize LiverChip™, a 3D perfused cell culture platform developed in the laboratories of Professors Linda Griffith and Steven Tannenbaum.
Zyoxel will develop and sell LiverChip™ hardware, consumables and provide products and services based on the LiverChip™ technology. The company is already in discussion with a number of pharmaceutical clients and academic researchers who are interested in the commercial availability of the technology. Future research will explore the use of LiverChip™ as an enabling platform for liver disease models, stem cell culture and multi-organ tissue models, for which grant funding has already been secured.
“More than a decade of research at MIT has shown that LiverChip™ can support highly physiologically relevant in vitro liver tissue models” said Dr David Hughes, Head of R&D at Zyoxel, “our objective is to build on this foundation, developing LiverChip™ for applications including drug metabolism, pharmacokinetics and safety assessment.”
Central to the effectiveness of LiverChip™ in the maintenance of primary cell cultures is the LiverChip™ scaffold, whose dimensions have been engineered to recreate the capillary-bed structure of the liver sinusoid. When hepatocytes and non-parenchymal liver cells are seeded into LiverChip™ the cells reconstitute hundreds of microscale tissue units within the porous scaffold. The high oxygen demand of the hepatic tissue cultures is addressed via direct perfusion of the scaffolds using a specially designed perfusion plate, which recreates physiologically relevant oxygen gradients and flow/shear forces on the tissues.
Drug induced liver injury is a leading cause of drug failures accounting for over 40% of clinical phase drug candidate terminations and nearly one third of drugs withdrawn from the market. Preclinical tests that better predict human hepatotoxicity risks of new drugs are urgently needed to reduce attrition rates and improve the efficiency of drug development.
“We are committed to delivering innovative technologies that enable the efficient development of safer and more effective medicines” said Dr Tim Hart, Chief Executive Officer of Zyoxel. “LiverChip™ represents a further step towards preclinical screens that can better predict clinical hepatotoxicity risks.”
Zyoxel develops and supplies bioengineered solutions to support three-dimensional perfused cell culture for more physiologically relevant in vitro cell and tissue models. Zyoxel’s current platforms are based on innovative technologies developed at the University of Oxford and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Zyoxel was spun out of Oxford University’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering in 2009 with investment from Hong Kong multinational CN Innovations Holdings. For more information visit www.zyoxel.com.