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Agilent, Illumina Sponsor Alliance Established for Toxicity Testing Using Integrated Systems Biology

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences has established a pre-competitive partnership with several organizations to advance an integrated systems biology approach to toxicity testing research.

The partnership announced today will use toxicity pathway case studies in order to accelerate implementation of recommendations put forth in a National Research Council report, said Hamner. The partners will develop cell-based assays for mapping and modeling cell signaling pathways for assessing dose responses. Validated with prototype chemicals, the assays will allow researchers to perform toxicity testing and risk assessments based solely on in vitro test results and eliminate the need for toxicity studies with intact animals.

Such in vitro-based testing, the Research Triangle Park, NC-based non-profit institute added, will accelerate the testing of compounds already in commercial use as well as new compounds. Hamner also said that rapid testing would aid in evaluating the thousands of chemicals currently in backlog for which there is limited toxicity test data and could potentially hasten drug discovery and development by providing a method of assessing compounds "far earlier" in the development process.

Hamner and Brown University will conduct the research, which is being sponsored by partners including Agilent Technologies, Illumina, Dow Chemical, Dow Corning, ExxonMobil, Unilever, and CropLife America member companies.

The Long-Range Research Initiative of the American Chemistry Council supported earlier stages of the research.

"This groundbreaking partnership brings together all the components necessary to take a truly integrated biology approach to 21st century toxicity testing and take advantage of modern biology," Hamner President and CEO William Greenlee said in a statement.