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Human cell models could potentially replace animal experiments

29th October 2018


Dr Jonathan Milner

Elpis Biomed, a University of Cambridge spin-out developing high quality human cells via its proprietary Opti-Ox platform, is pleased to announce that life science entrepreneur Dr Jonathan Milner, Deputy Chairman and Founder of Abcam, mentioned the company, stating: “Elpis human cells can fix the broken drug discovery process by replacing animal experiments,” during his plenary lecture at the recent European Laboratory Research & Innovation Group (ELRIG) Drug Discovery Conference.

During his plenary address on ‘Opportunities in the Golden Age of Biology’ Dr Milner asked whether the drug discovery process is ‘broken’. Dr Milner explained: “Over the past decades, the return on investment on pharmaceutical research and development has suffered exponential decline. A main contributor to the rising costs of drug development are high failure rates, both at the pre-clinical and clinical stage.” He continued: “The causes for drug failure are likely due to the biological differences between the current animal models and cell lines used for drug discovery and human biology. The solution to this problem is to integrate human cell models early into the drug development process.”

Although human cells are better models for drugs screening, few were featured at the ELRIG conference. Dr Milner commented, “The lack of human cell models being utilised boils down to the fact that the current technology for generating patient derived cells does not meet the requirements for drug screening.” Elpis, backed by Milner’s personal investment, “provides the first robust and scalable solution of functional biologically-relevant cells for drug development,” he added.





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