ILS and Stemina Biomarker Discovery entered into a partnership to advance Stemina’s stem cell based toxicology testing tools, beginning with devTOX. ILS has exclusive distribution rights in North America, and the two firms will work jointly on further development.
DevTOX uses human embryonic stem cells (hESC) to evaluate pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and formulations such as cosmetics for their potential to cause birth defects if a woman is exposed during pregnancy. Existing rat and mouse models are approximately 60% predictive of the effect of a known chemical on human development, according to Stemina. In a blind study using hESC as the test substrate and Stemina’s platform to test 27 drugs with known birth-defect-causing effects, the devTOX assay predicted seven of eight drugs in each category, or was 87.5% predictive, the firm adds.
Stemina is a metabolomics company focused on the discovery, development, and commercialization of molecular biomarkers to improve drug safety and human health. It uses mass spectrometry to analyze small molecules secreted by hESCs and differentiated cells such as heart and neural cells made from hESCs in response to drugs, injury, or disease.
Stemina’s hESC lines are reportedly approved for use in the U.S. and the EU. Besides devTOX, the company is also working on cardioTOX for drug-induced cardiomyopathies and biomarkers for cancer stem cells.
ILS provides research solutions in the toxicology, genetic and molecular, histopathology, as well as environmental and information science fields. Stemina and ILS will perform the devTOX assay and develop additional technologies at ILS’ facilities in Research Triangle Park, NC.