This article was originally published in Start Up
Pharmaceutical companies are increasingly looking to in vitro assays that can be done very early in the discovery and lead optimization process to help them determine a compound's safety before investing further. Ivan Rich, the founder of HemoGenix, believes that hematopoietic stem cells, which are responsible for producing all cells of the blood forming system, are an under-used source for the early prediction of drug toxicity.
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Current in vivo and in vitro models can't keep up with the demand for the safety assessment of large numbers of compounds emerging from high-throughput strategies. Pharmaceutical companies and start-ups are therefore building new systems that they hope will be capable of predicting the toxicity liabilities of new compounds. Cheminformatics can help week out toxic compounds at the lead selection and optimization stage; toxicogenomics may provide a toxicity diagnostic capability at all stages of drug development. For both toxicology approaches, there is not yet enough high quality data to build predictive models. Toxicology-focused cheminformatics programs attempt to consolidate data from hitherto untapped sources; toxicogenomics companies are engaged in the fussy and expensive process of manufacturing data from scratch and validating them with biological experiments.
Wound Solutions Ltd. looks to the paradigm of patient self-care in diabetes to address the gaps in chronic wound care, where the feedback provided by blood glucose monitoring encourages changes in behavior. A small device that is placed under a compression bandage helps patients with venous leg ulcers comply with the steps they should be taking to support wound healing, in the process, collecting data that helps clinicians make informed therapy decisions.
The treatment of chronic wounds is challenging, not only because of the underlying biology, but also because of more practical considerations: fragmentation in the care settings, the logistics of delivering products to patients, and the costs of chronic care. Next generation advanced wound care companies are engineering solutions to these problems.