Product News: Partnership to Promote Early and Accurate Prediction of Potential Cardiotoxic Side Effects to Drug Discovery

16 Sep 2010

Cellular Dynamics International (CDI) announced today their partnership with ACEA Biosciences to bring early and accurate prediction of potential cardiotoxic side effects to the drug discovery process. The partnership combines CDI’s induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived heart cells, iCell Cardiomyocytes, with the xCELLigence RTCA System. The xCELLigence System is developed by ACEA and Roche Applied Science (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY) and marketed by Roche.

CDI has supplied purified human iCell Cardiomyocytes to ACEA for the evaluation experiments, in which the xCELLigence RTCA Cardio System was used to measure the effects of cardiac compounds with known electrophysiological and/or biochemical actions on the cells as well as drugs withdrawn from the market due to cardiac liability. The evaluation has been successfully completed, and the platform is in external beta testing at several pharmaceutical and academic institutions and will be made commercially available soon.

“CDI’s goal is to supply relevant human cellular tools to improve the efficiency and throughput of drug development pipelines,” said Chris Parker, CDI Chief Commercial Officer. “Our iCell Cardiomyocytes provide a biochemically and electrophysiologically relevant human model for discovery and testing, compared to current non-human, cadaveric, or immortalized cells lines. In addition, our industrialized manufacturing process enables us to supply homogeneous cells in the quantity, quality, and purity required to assess potential cardiac effects caused by drugs under development.”

“The xCELLigence RTCA Cardio System adds a new, cutting-edge product line to our non-invasive cell-based assays providing physiological relevant data. It allows our customers to study drug effects on the ultimate physiological function of cardiomyocytes: heart beating” says Ruedi Stoffel, Life Cycle Leader Cellular Analysis at Roche Applied Science. “Also, the use of the xCELLigence RTCA Cardio System, together with iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes allows reducing animal testing via the use of innovative in vitro test systems”.

Dr. Xiaobo Wang, ACEA Vice President and CTO stated, "We are excited that our technology allows for assessment of cardiac liability of drug candidates early in the drug development process. We look forward to working together with the scientists in this important area to test some of their compounds as part of our technology early access program prior to the launch of the RTCA Cardio System and provide them with important cardiotoxicity information about their compounds.”

iCell Cardiomyocytes, officially launched in December 2009, are the first commercial product developed from human iPS cells and are gaining wide acceptance in industrial and academic research programs. iCell Cardiomyocytes beat spontaneously in vitro (see movie) and exhibit the electrophysiological and biochemical properties of normal human heart cells, thereby creating significant advances over current cardiac cell models. By providing a relevant human model, this cellular tool is designed to aid basic research and drug discovery by enabling more precise drug targeting and greater compound efficacy as well as increased predictability of toxicity screens. As iCell Cardiomyocytes are an in vitro based test system, they can be utilized early in the development pipeline to weed out ineffective and potentially toxic compounds prior to significant time and resource investment.

The xCELLigence RTCA system encompasses a series of instruments that utilizes specially fabricated microtiter plates containing microelectrodes for real-time dynamic monitoring of cell behavior under label-free conditions. A number of cell-based applications, including cell proliferation and cytotoxicity, cell adhesion, cell migration, and invasion and receptor-mediated signaling, have been developed on the xCELLigence platform. The xCELLigence RTCA Cardio System represents the latest addition to the portfolio, which provides a label-free, easy-to-use, fast analysis system for monitoring basic cell health and cardiomyocyte function. By rapidly measuring impedance at industry-leading sampling rates, the RTCA system is able to simultaneously assess cell health and physiological activity in real time, thus determining a compound’s potential effect(s) on cardiomyocyte viability, beat rate, and contractile behaviour in a single hands-free assay. The platform’s utility extends beyond cardiotoxicity measurements as well by providing an assay system suitable for use in drug discovery efforts targeting cardiac ion channels, G-protein coupled receptors, and contractile elements.