MANCHESTER, United Kingdom, July 16, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Epistem Limited, the UK based pre-clinical and clinical research services company announces the expansion of its in vitro model portfolio by the completion of an agreement with Hubrecht Organoid Technology (HUB) to enable the delivery of an increased range of multi species organoid models. Services are focused on the identification of off target or off tissue intestinal toxicities associated with various therapeutics. Specifically, Epistem aims to help customers define whether there are reasons to suspect that there may be human toxicity issues. This will allow better prioritisation of lead compounds, with customers able to make early decisions on whether to abandon, identify alternatives, or develop mitigation strategies for any drugs with human toxicity.

Organoids are adult stem cell patient or animal derived structures. Organoids are genetically stable and maintain epithelial functionality in the laboratory. The expanding stem cells generate all epithelial cell types and self organise to produce structures that are a simplified replicas of the organ from which they were derived. This enables the effects of new drugs to be evaluated in a relatively quick, yet highly controlled (and hence robust) manner.

Dr. Benjamin Reed, Commercial Director, Epistem, commented, “I am delighted to add further services to our existing repertoire of 3D culture models.  We are committed to provide innovative services to accelerate drug development. Organoids will be a key addition to our portfolio of services and will enable our customers identify toxicity issues using a model that is indicative of the outcome when dosing animals and humans.”

Dr. Catherine Booth, CEO, Epistem, added, “Organoids provide valuable insight into toxicity when analyzed using techniques such as gene expression profiling, imaging and FACs analysis. They will help, alongside well designed in vivo studies, enable our customers to make more informed decisions and improve the efficiency of their drug development process. We are also developing complementary services to investigate drug and microbiota effects on barrier function, inflammatory signals and early fibrosis.”

Dr. Bahar Ramezanpour, Head of Business Development, HUB, commented, “We are happy to announce this partnership with one of the leading preclinical research service providers. Epistem’s services will help expand our toxicology services to support pharmaceutical and biotech companies identify early stage toxicity issues with new compounds.”

Notes for editors

About Epistem Ltd
Epistem is an established research service provider with headquarters in Manchester UK. Founded on ground-breaking research in epithelial stem cell biology, Epistem has evolved into a dynamic and successful business that provides innovative research services. For 19 years Epistem has been providing a personalised service to customers worldwide, from virtual start-ups to established biotechnology companies, global pharmaceutical and personal care companies. Epistem is committed to providing reliable, innovative and transferable pre-clinical and clinical models and services to support decision making throughout the drug discovery and development pipeline. More info at www.epistem.co.uk

About HUB
Hubrecht Organoid Technology (HUB) is an organization founded by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences and the University Medical Center Utrecht. HUB exploits the pioneering work of Prof. Hans Clevers, who discovered methods to grow stem cell-derived human ‘mini-organs’ (HUB Organoids) from tissues of patients with various diseases. The organoids, which are part of the HUB biobanks, are characterized by genome sequencing, expression profiling and sensitivity to known and experimental drugs to establish a database linking genetic and transcriptional information to drug responsiveness. HUB offers licenses to its patented HUB Organoid Technology and access to organoids from the HUB biobank for preclinical drug screening, discovery, development and validation. In addition, HUB is performing clinical studies to validate the technology’s use as a companion diagnostic. More info at www.hub4organoids.eu.