Are you curious about drug discovery ? Do you have questions about recent evolutions ? You should look at this course from Coursera. It will give you the major aspects of the drug discovery process and an overview of this changing landscape.

The University of California San Diego, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Drug Discovery course brings you lectures from both faculty and industry experts. With this course, recorded on campus at UCSD, we seek to share our access to top people in the field who bring an unprecedented range of expertise on drug discovery.

Source: Drug Discovery | Coursera

Deep Learning seems to be the magical word today in biology and medicine. This technology is used for DNA exploration, pictures interpretation or even to predict future diseases. Deep Genomics is going further and annonces to use of Deep Learning for early-stage development of drugs for Mendelian disorders. As the founder, Brendan Frey, says, it could be a new step in drugs developement, and maybe a “really massive shake-up of pharmaceuticals” !

Deep Genomics, a Canadian company that uses machine learning to trace potential genetic causes for disease, announced Tuesday that it’s getting into drug development. It joins a growing list of AI companies betting that their techniques can help produce powerful new drugs by finding subtle signals in huge quantities of genomic data.

Source: An AI-Driven Genomics Company Is Turning to Drugs – MIT Technology Review

If you don’t know what precision medicine is, you should read this clear article of Dr. Bertalan Mesko from the Medical Futurist℠ website.

Precision medicine is a new step in healthcare, because up to now drugs have been created as a global solution for a disease. It’s a good choice for “simple” (or mono factor) illnesses but much more inefficient for multiparametric ones like cancer or neurodegenerative diseases.

Currently, we know that everyone has a different genetic code, may react differently to pharmaceutics or may have a completely opposite reaction to treatment as assumed. So why should we treat everyone with the same drugs or with the same method?

In HCS Pharma, We strongly believe that phenotypic screening can be an help to implement precision medecine and that is the future in addition to do the systematic genotyping.

Thus, I truly believe that precision medicine is not a hype or an empty promise, but it is the only viable future for healthcare if we want to fight against cancer successfully.

Source: Precision Medicine Is Our Best Hope In The Fight Against Cancer – The Medical Futurist

Méryl Roudaut* will present a poster on the work of Institut du Thorax (Nantes, France) during the meeting “advances in cell engineering, imaging and screening conference”. This conference will be held on 17-18 november 2016, in Louvain (Belgium). It will focus on novel technologies through presentations in several sessions:

  • New imaging and microscopy tools
  • Super-resolution Imaging
  • IPS and cell reprogramming
  • 3D cell culture and organoids
  • Cell manipulation
  • In vivo cell-based assays
  • Cytometry
  • High Content Screening.

If you want more informations about the CHOPIN program and the work presented on the poster, don’t hesitate to discuss with Méryl* during this event!

*Méryl is our PhD student working in collaboration with Pr Bertrand Cariou and Dr Karim Si-Tayeb within the CHOPIN RHU program.

As shown by AstraZeneca in nature reviews, one third of the safety failures is linked to CNS toxicity during the clinical trials of drugs . To avoid this attrition, the potential neurotoxicity  of any drug going through the blood brain barrier (BBB) needs to be checked and if possible at the early stage of  the research process for new chemical entites (NCE). This assay can be performed by cell imaging in HCA/HCS.

View and download on Slideshare (low quality) :

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Quantifying DNA damage is mandatory to assess potential adverse effects of candidate drugs or molecules or extracts developed in the dermo-cosmetic industry, but also to assess the efficacy of therapeutic approaches with the aim of producing tumor cell genotoxicity in cancer treatment.

The comet assay is a sensitive, well established technique for quantifying DNA damage in eukaryotic cells. Compatible with the detection of a wide range of DNA damaging agents, its principle consists in the migration of fragmented DNA in an electrophoresis gel (damaged DNA forming the tail of the comet), while intact DNA moves at a slower rate (head of the comet). The percentage of fragmented DNA in the comet tail is a direct measure of DNA damage.

View and download on Slideshare (low quality) :

Ask for high quality link by putting your email below

The pharmaceutical industry is in upheaval. Since 20 years, inefficiency of pharmaceutical industry to turn its discoveries into new drugs force them to change their model. After target-based screening, they come back to phenotypic screening by high content screening and by using more relevant models as 3D cell models. In the same time, they share their tools, their expertise and now their chemical libraries with academic research labs and even with competitors to collaborate with them. Nice example of open innovation are with Sanofi and Astrazeneca. The Sanofi site in Straboug was become an open access innovation patform since 2014 and they are involved in public-private & French-German partnering called Ksilink project.  In the same time, Astrazeneca performed the same thing in Cambridge UK. Whereas before the chemical librairies represented the treasure of each pharmaceutical industry, now the mind change and the model is to exchange chemical librairies. AstraZeneca has recently made agreements with Sanofi and Syngenta to exchange 240,000 novel compounds for screening at no cost. Another model of compound sharing is the collaboration between AstraZeneca and Bayer, whereby each company makes available its entire compound library for screening of the partner’s target.

The success to find new drugs is in open innovation and partnerhip?

Full article “Toward a hit for every target” from AstraZeneca :

News on this article: 

Since few years, the technology is more and more used to finaly create organ-on-a-chip and now body-on-chip with different organs. More and more academical units and collaborative projects allowed to succed to miniaturise different organs in different chambers on a chip connected with microfluidy. Lung, liver, kidney, heart, bone, bone marrow, adipose tissue, intestine, skin, blood vessels, blood-brain barrier are already exist on a chip. But the way is long and some problems are still not resolved as  the use of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), which absorbed hydrophobic drugs.

But can we imagine to have all organs of the body on a chip to test the safety of a drug in one in vitro experiment? This was the project of different partnairs and collaborations and one is in France in Compiegne:

“Une équipe française est active dans ce domaine. Basée à l’université de technologie de Compiègne, elle travaille avec le laboratoire franco-japonais LIMMS (CNRS université de Tokyo) à la mise au point d’un foie sur puce. En Europe, cinq partenaires, implantés en Suisse, Belgique, Allemagne et Royaume-Uni, collaborent à un projet de body-on-a-chip qui a reçu de l’UE un financement de 1,4.million d’euros. Une puce comprenant quatre types de cellules (foie, tumeur, muscle cardiaque, tissu nerveux) a été réalisée. Aux États-Unis, le projet de body-on-a-chip du MIT a reçu une subvention de 32 millions de dollars, le Wyss Institute une enveloppe de 37 millions.”

Can we imagine to replace the majority of animal testing and to be more and more predictive during the preclinical phases with all these new technologies (microfluidy, bioprinting,…). And by using cells coming from patients as IPS with using these new technologies, we will slowly but surely towards personalized medicine.

To know more on this project on body on a chip, go to this link (article in french):

As last year, we were present in Biofit. This congress is one of the best european place to be for B2B meetings. I had around 20 B to B meetings to discuss partnering and business, with biotech companies, other CROs and with public transfert technology societies as SATT in France or ErasmusMC in The Netherlands. That I can observe is that B2B meetings with pharmaceutical industries are increasingly turned to partnering around drugs already in clinical development rather than business around innovative projects. Nevertheless, it was a good place to discuss partnering with others CROs and biotech companies.

Do you know what is phenotypic screening ? If you are here I think yes 🙂 But if you want to explain it easily, I strongly recommend the reading of Perkin Elmer white paper « Phenotypic Drug Discovery with High Content Screening ». It’s short (only 4 pages) but it contents main information to understand differences between « target based » and « phenotypic screening » approaches in drug discovery.

It explains also the importance of the technology side and the digital side of HCS and finally, give a good summarize of our vision :

“Today’s drug discovery strategies require candidate compounds to fail early and cheaply in the discovery stage, rather than late and expensively in the clinical phase. Testing compounds from the beginning in physiologically relevant model systems and leveraging the rich information available in image-based screens are ways to focus on those compounds that give rise to the right phenotypic changes without undesirable effects on the system. High Content Screening with highly detailed multiparametric assays in conjunction with modern machine-learning tools provide a promising way to achieve this goal.”

 Source :

We will be present in the “innovation zone” during the Drug discovery 2015 in Telford the 2nd and 3rd of September. The event is organised by ELRIG into 8 scientific sessions, which one is on phenotypic discovery and cell imaging. For participants, this event is free of charge. Thus, come and see us in the innovation zone!
If you want more detail about this event, follow this link:

NIH Grant has been awarded to Hudson Robotics and Johns Hopkins University for in vivo Studies. Cell imaging on in vivo studies on whole organism as zebrafish is a powerfull tool during drug discovery. Nevertheless, the throughput is really low to be used during preliminary drug discovery. Working on implementation of automated system for which a suitable in vivo assay can be developed in high throughput will save time and money while helping to streamline and speed up the drug discovery research process.

In vivo studies are done using a whole living organism. The HTS system being developed is termed the Automated Reporter Quantification in vivo (ARQiv) system. It is being created to bring high-throughput screening technology into the world of in vivo studies.

Curated from

I was really impressed by the size and quality of the Drug Discovery 2014 organised by ELRIG in Manchester. More than 1,500 scientists participated in this meeting and nearly 100 exhibitors were present. Phentoypic screening and high content screening were prominent in this conference and we could hear researchers from Roche, Astrazeneca, Merck Serono or Cancer research UK / UK-NPSC (National Screening Phentypic center) to explain us how they have implemented phenotypic screening and HCA / HCS in their lab and process of drug discovery.
Here, you can hear an interesting interview from Dr. Peter Simpson, Co-Organizer of Elrig Drug Discovery 2014, directed by SelectScience :

Dr. Peter Simpson Discusses ELRIG Drug Discovery 2014

Dr. Peter Simpson Discusses ELRIG Drug Discovery 2014

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