New Rochelle, NY, April 16, 2008—Biotech and pharma companies are increasingly relying on cell-based assays in early drug discovery work, reports Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN). The technique can provide a quick and lower cost means of testing drug candidates for toxic effects, according to an article in the April 15 issue of GEN (http://www.genengnews.com/articles/chitem.aspx?aid=2437).
Better screening technologies, noninvasive monitoring, and more automation are driving the trend toward adoption of this technology, notes John Sterling, Editor-in-Chief of GEN. Some estimates project that the market for cell-based assays will more than double over the next six or seven years to over $230 million. This is definitely a methodology that should draw the interest of new drug developers.
More than 50% of currently marketed drugs target GPCRs, which impact a wide range of cellular processes. Multispan is looking to exploit this area and is collaborating with Promega and Molecular Devices to develop an array of applications for its GPCR cell-based assays.
Another field of much R&D interest involves protein-protein interactions. DiscoveRx created a new family of cell-based assays for the detection of protein-protein interactions using an enzyme fragment complementation assay. This system uses an enzyme acceptor, an inactive alpha-galactosidase enzyme that binds to its enzyme donor forming an active enzyme that will hydrolyze a substrate and provide a signal.