Firm will use its human surrogate system to create a database of drug-induced vascular response profiles.

HemoShear received up to $4.3 million in a Phase II SBIR grant award from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI). The money will fund work to profile the effects of 50 known drugs on the human blood vessel system using HemoShear’s human vascular surrogate system. 

HemoShear will use its bioinformatics methods to develop a predictive vascular gene signature that can be used to score new drug compounds for vascular safety risk. “The importance and power of the HemoShear technology is only beginning to be understood,” remarks Robert Ruffolo Jr., Ph.D., HemoShear scientific advisory board member.

“We already know that the technology can play a role identifying and validating new molecular targets in the vascular system for which new drugs can be designed. We now believe the technology will be able to play an important role in predicting both vascular efficacy and side effects of drug candidates earlier in the drug discovery process and thereby reduce the risk of failure in pharmaceutical research and development.”

Ernest Bush, Ph.D., vp of collaborative projects, The Drug Safety Executive Council (DSEC), adds,  “Vascular inflammation and injury are significant adverse effects for a number of drugs and drug classes. Simple cellular systems will never be able to precisely predict how a complex organism such as a human will react to a new chemical entity. However, the closer the test environment is to human physiological conditions, the more accurate the resulting outcomes will be.”

This is the third SBIR grant HemoShear has received from the NIH in two years. HemoShear previously received a Phase I SBIR grant, which funded development of a human surrogate vascular inflammation system. This system has been validated and is being used in customer research programs. HemoShear was then awarded a second Phase I SBIR grant in April 2011 to develop a rodent liver surrogate system as an initial step toward development of an advanced human liver system.

HemoShear’s technology platform can be adapted to replicate the biology of human or animal organ systems in both healthy and disease-prone states by applying physiologically accurate hemodynamic forces to primary cell cultures. It reportedly uses primary human (or species-specific) cells in co-culture, applies human- (or species-) derived regional hemodynamic forces, recapitulates region-specific in vivo cell phenotypes, and replicates physiologically relevant disease conditions. It maintains multicell separation for independent analysis of each cell type, enables functional assessment of specific cell response, and enables study of specific patient subpopulations.

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