Aviva Biosciences Corp.
This article was originally published in Start Up
Aviva Biosciences recently commercialized its first product, a micro-fabricated electrophysiology chip for high-throughput screening of compounds that affect ion channels-potentially one of the most attractive sources of drug targets. The company is also developing a chip-based system for enriching rare cells in fluids and separating them out, including fetal cells from maternal blood, cancer cells, and stem cells.
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Historically ion channels have been among the most attractive targets for therapeutic intervention. But discovery of new ion channel drugs has come to a halt because ion channels are difficult to assay, require specialized tools and skills to study adequately, and have historically been impossible to study directly in high-throughput mode-the preferred style of the last decade. Now, a variety of automated assay technologies are coming on the market that should increase throughput, and some drug discovery companies have developed proprietary high-throughput methods for in-house use. With industry now interested more than ever in applying higher-throughput technologies to precedented targets, in a sense, ion channel discovery may become a beneficiary of the failures of genomics, combinatorial chemistry, and high-throughput screening.
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