SenzaGen has signed a collaboration agreement with the global biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.
The collaboration focuses on testing and development of SenzaGen’s sensitisation test, GARDair, to distinguish between allergens and irritants in the respiratory tract.
The goal is the validation of in vitro toxicological tests that could be applied to the discovery of new treatments for respiratory diseases without respiratory tract irritancy as a side-effect.
The collaboration means that SenzaGen will use its leading technology platform GARD, with the help of AstraZeneca’s well-documented substance libraries, to develop a new genomic signature to distinguish allergens from irritants in the respiratory tract, something that is not possible today with in vitro methods.
GARD examines and finds allergens in chemicals and medicines through a unique technology in accordance with the international 3Rs principle, Reduce, Replace and Refine, as an alternative to animal testing.
“During our research and drug discovery activities, it is important to be able to identify and mitigate potential toxicological issues as early as possible, to ensure our novel candidate drugs have the right safety profile for patients. This requires in vitro toxicological methods that are properly validated for their predictivity of clinical toxicity and that are compatible with integration into the drug discovery process,” says Jorrit Hornberg, Director of Discovery Safety at AstraZeneca Gothenburg.
“By combining SenzaGen’s technological expertise and our experience with inhaled compounds, we aim to develop a novel method to investigate whether novel drug-like molecules induce similar genomic signatures as known respiratory irritants. That could ultimately be applied to steer away from a potential irritancy hazard and enable the discovery of safer drugs for patients.”
With this new agreement, SenzaGen is initiating yet another important development collaboration with the pharmaceutical industry. SenzaGen’s focus is on introducing its tests into the pharmaceutical industry and on striving to demonstrate that there are safer and more accurate tests than those that use animals.
“This collaboration with AstraZeneca is a milestone for SenzaGen. It shows that leading pharmaceutical companies see the potential of next-generation testing and that this testing has considerable industrial value. Furthermore, the collaboration will provide SenzaGen with valuable knowledge and will help to refine and develop our GARD test for further commercial opportunities,” says Anki Malmborg Hager, CEO of SenzaGen.
The research project will run for 12 to 18 months and is in collaboration with AstraZeneca Gothenburg, contributing to the EU Horizon 2020 project granted to SenzaGen for the development of in vitro respiratory sensitisation test.