End of last year, the american legislation has ratified that new drugs no longer need to be tested in animals to receive Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval.

This is a huge step toward animal-free validation of drugs, but it requires the design of a relevant and more predictive drug discovery (DD) process. Indeed, as highlighted in this article, the current DD process releases drug candidates in clinical trials (9 in 10 drugs will be rejected because shown toxic or inefficient in human trials) or even worse, on the market (and later withdrawn because of unpredicted long-term side effects for example).

The solution? More predictive in vitro preclinical studies based on human cells and… in 3D, taking into account the in vivo cellular microenvironment. Indeed, it is now well adknowledged by the scientific community that 3D in vitro models are more predictive than their 2D counterparts.

But this is not the only issue. The extracellular matrix (ECM), providing a dynamic skeleton-like organ-specific microenvironment for the cells in tissues, is usually not included – or not in a relevant way – into 3D in vitro models. Even if the ECM is important in cell fate, migration, differentiation, responses to drugs – and much more, it is missing in 3D models.

At HCS Pharma, we are working on this aspect to provide the pharmaceutical industry with ready-to-use plates for their screenings (both primary and secondary) including BIOMIMESYS® as a realistic ECM mimicry (cf Figure below). Based on native ECM components, it is the perfect cell culture environment for your spheroids/organoids, and all 3D models that are needed by the 3.0 drug discovery to replace animal testing!

Figure: BIOMIMESYS®, containing ECM components, reflects the in vivo microenvironment for a relevant and predictive 3D cell culture as early as possible in the drug discovery process

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