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The Clinical Trials Industry’s Weekly News Update launches model development service for early drug studies

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Synthetic biology contractor has launched a service that will produce disease-relevant mutations in stem cells for drug developers.

The service – which produces Custom ioDisease Model Cells – uses CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing to turn induced pluripotent stem cells into models of the desired disease for drug discovery studies.

CEO Mark Kotter said the aim is to provide researchers with more specific ways of studying illnesses during early-phase drug development.

"With this new offering, we can cater to the vast diversity of scientific research into human diseases, providing scientists with the models they need to study their specific interests. Our custom disease cell model offering aligns with's mission to democratize access to human cells for research and drug discovery.” has a partnership with Charles River Laboratories through which the models are provided. The firm has developed models of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, Huntington’s, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and frontotemporal dementia.

Paul Morrill, chief business officer, underlined the benefits of using species-specific cells as disease models.

“Human cells are key to disease research, drug discovery, and clinical translation. However, traditional methods of producing human cells have long, laborious, protocols that often result in heterogenous cell populations that can lead to significant data variability.

“With this customized offering, we can provide robust, standardized tools for research and drug discovery. This gives researchers a unique method to gain valuable insights into disease mechanisms and assess the efficacy of potential drugs for treatment.”

The launch of the new service comes a few months after partnered with robotics and automation firm Automata in a deal designed to add human cell production capacity.

At the time the firm said the partnership would increase its capacity to make human cell products for research and drug discovery by quadrupling manufacturing output.


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