Toxicity screening specialist CeeTox and stem cell technologies firm Cellular Dynamics International have teamed up to devise and offer an in vitro predictive cardiac safety screening services using human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived cardiomyocytes. The Cardiac Arrhythmia Assessment Screen™ (CAAS) combines Cellular Dynamics’ iCell Cardiomyocytes with CeeTox capabilities in in vitro toxicity screening, to generate a screening service the firms claim can provide a profile of drug-induced cardiac toxicity at an early stage in the drug development process.

CRO CeeTox is focused on the provision of services for in vitro drug candidate, chemical toxicity, and ADME screening. “CAAS is an affordable addition to cardiac safety screening panels done during lead optimization, prior to candidate selection,” comments James McKim, CeeTox founder and CSO. “More sensitive, predictable in vitro screens such as this that have direct implications for hazard identification and risk assessment can save drug developers valuable time and money.”

Cellular Dynamics’ iCell Cardiomyocytes are highly purified human cardiomyocytes derived from iPSC cells through the firm’s differentiation and purification protocols. The cells are a mixture of spontaneously electrically active atrial, nodal, and ventricular-like myocytes that possess typical electrophysiological characteristics and exhibit expected electrophysiological and biochemical responses upon exposure to exogenous agents. The firm claims the cells are a reliable source of human cardiomyocytes suitable for use in targeted drug discovery and toxicity testing.

The firm’s iCell portfolio of iPSC-derived cells includes iCell endothelial applications in drug discovery, neurotoxicity testing, and disease research. The firm is separately developing iCell hepatocytes. 

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