Year: 2011-12

Company: Life Technologies

Liaison(s): Vicki Singer, Rodney Turner

Life Technologies Corporation is a global biotechnology company dedicated to improving the human condition. Life Technologies’ industry-leading brands are found in nearly every life science laboratory around the world and include innovative instrument systems under the Applied Biosystems® and Ion Torrent brands, as well as a broad range of reagents under Invitrogen®, GIBCO®, Ambion ®, Molecular Probes® and TaqMan® brands. Life Technologies’ customers work across the biological spectrum in the fields of discovery and translational research, molecular medicine, stem cell therapies, and many other applications. The drug discovery and development process is expensive, lengthy, and risky. In preclinical studies, biologists attempt to predict how humans will Absorb, Distribute, Metabolize and Excrete a drug candidate, and also estimate the Toxicity (ADME/T testing). Scientists conduct experiments using animals, human cells, cell-surface receptor preparations and purified enzymes in order to predict the ADME/T properties of new drug candidates prior to initiating clinical trials in humans. Scientists currently consider tests using animal models to be more predictive of clinical trial results than in vitro assays. Animal studies are costly, time consuming, and because of inter-species differences, may not correlate with human clinical results. In contrast, current in vitro methods are more convenient and cost-effective, but also limited in their ability to predict clinical outcomes. These limitations of both approaches create opportunities for new technologies that better predict clinical results while offering the advantages of in vitro studies. The team explored the potential for novel in vitro methods to reduce animal testing in order to help Life Technologies investigate new commercial opportunities. In the first phase of the project, the team interviewed experts working in preclinical ADME/T testing to understand current practices, identify potential opportunities, and improve current tests. In the second phase, the team conducted a survey to quantify these findings. Finally, the team refined the survey results by conducting additional expert interviews. Through these processes, the team identified several pain points and unmet needs in the current ADME/T testing market. The team assessed the level of willingness of preclinical ADME/T customers to adopt new technologies and identified characteristics that could help drive their adoption.