Drug Development Research Supported by Yokogawa and InSphero Partnership Agreement

By Shin Kai

Acquisition or Partnership

Yokogawa Electric Corporation announced that it has entered into a partnership agreement with InSphero AG, a pioneer in the development of 3D in vitro technologies for drug discovery and safety.  The two companies aim to establish and advance methods for the use of high-content analysis (HCA) in drug discovery and safety assessment.  They will jointly promote and support the use of high-value-added HCA solutions in drug discovery research that involves the use of 3D in vitro models.

Through its 3D InSight discovery and safety platforms, InSphero provides physiologically optimized 3D in vitro solutions to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.  The company’s discovery and safety platforms have been adopted by major pharmaceutical companies around the world to inform decisions earlier in the drug discovery pipeline and better predict the patient response to new drugs and therapeutics.  The scalable Akura technology underlying these platforms includes 96 and 384-well plate formats and an organ-on-a-chip system for integrating 3D spheroid models in multi-tissue and organ networks on a multichannel bio-functional chip.  Precisely engineered for cell imaging and automated environments, InSphero platforms are suitable for a wide range of applications, from HCA to the investigation of complex interactions between spheroid tissue models.

Yokogawa’s CellVoyager high-throughput screening system series is equipped with the company’s CSU confocal scanner unit, which scans cells at high speed, enabling high resolution 3D imaging for the screening of candidate compounds.  Furthermore, the deep learning function of the CellPathfinder high-content analysis software, enables complex image analysis techniques, such as phenotypic analysis.  Together, InSphero and Yokogawa will advance the use of HCA technologies and methodologies and thereby address the growing demand for these solutions in applications, such as drug discovery.  By using this technology to extract useful pharmacological information and elucidate the pathophysiology of diseases in complex multicellular 3D spheroid models, the two companies will contribute to the development of new drugs and advance human health.

As part of this partnership agreement, InSphero has begun using Yokogawa’s CQ1 confocal quantitative image cytometer in its ongoing drug discovery and safety programs.  In the life science journal SLAS Discovery, the two companies have jointly published an article about an optimal HCA method using 3D multicellular spheroid models for drug discovery.  InSphero and Yokogawa will be able to make use of deep learning and other HCA capabilities to further study and develop new high-content imaging and analysis solutions for 3D in vitro models.




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