NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Promethera Biosciences today announced a collaboration with EMD Millipore to develop "an improved ready-to-use microfluidic perfusion liver assay."
Promethera added that it and EMD Millipore, a division of Germany's Merck KGaA, are receiving €900,000 ($1.2 million) from the Belgian Walloon Region Biocluster and the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center to support development of the assay, which is being designed so that "more robust studies in pre-clinical toxicity and drug metabolism" can be achieved.
Promethera specializes in isolating, expanding, and characterizing human live progenitor cells for cell therapy and liver cell-based assays. It has identified a novel adult human hepatic progenitor cell population that can be maintained in vitro in two- and three-dimensional cell culture conditions. The population serves as the basis of Promethera's new in vitro drug metabolism testing models called Promethera H2Screen and H3Screen.
The cell-based models are derived from healthy human livers "and acquire a metabolic capacity within the range of primary hepatocytes," Promethera said.
Meanwhile, EMD Millipore's "Pearl" microfluidic technology mimics the liver's environment to maintain hepatocyte functionality.
The Belgian Walloon Region Biocluster and Massachusetts Life Sciences Center are awarding funding to the project as part of their International Collaborative Industry Program, formed to encourage collaboration between life science companies in Massachusetts and other countries.
The Promethera-EMD Millipore project was one of four picked for ICIP.