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Finnish CRO Admescope Adopts Plexpress' TRAC Platform for ADME-Tox Services

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This story was originally posted on May 16.

Admescope, a Helsinki, Finland-based contract research organization, will use Plexpress' TRAC platform to investigate in vitro drug interactions and preclinical ADME-tox responses, Plexpress said this week.

The CRO plans to first introduce Plexpress' assays targeting the cytochrome P450 family. Admescope expects demand for such services in part because of recent US Food and Drug Administration draft recommendations that suggest that CYP mRNA analysis could be more informative than measuring CYP activity for drug metabolism studies.

Admescope is the second CRO to adopt TRAC for ADME-tox this month. SBW, also based in Helsinki, announced recently that it would offer TRAC for high-throughput gene expression analysis to its clients in the pharmaceutical industry (BAN 5/8/2012). Like Admescope, SBW said it would initially offer Plexpress' TRAC cytochrome P450 family of multiplex assays.

Plexpress CEO Jari Rautio told BioArray News following the SBW deal that the firm plans a series of CRO collaborations, and that such partnerships will "form a core component" of the firm's ongoing business strategy."

Like SBW and Admescope, Plexpress is located in Helsinki. The privately held company was established in 2007 to commercialize TRAC, which stands for Transcript Analysis with the aid of Affinity Capture. According to the firm, TRAC relies on a set of amplifiable detection probes and biotinylated oligo-capture probes that are hybridized in solution. The resulting sandwich hybrids are collected on magnetic streptavidin-coated microparticles and washed. The hybridized probes are then eluted and detected with laser-induced fluorescence and capillary electrophoresis. TRAC has been adapted to work in a 96-well format, allowing users to profile the expression of 30 genes in each well.

Plexpress currently provides a Human ADMET service for measuring gene expression levels of cytochrome P450-encoding genes and other genes associated with drug metabolism, according to its website. Rather than building its own sales force to support the platform, it has instead focused on expanding its service offering via CROs, which offer TRAC using kits provided by Plexpress, according to Rautio. The company has positioned TRAC as an alternative to quantitative PCR and traditional gene expression arrays, citing advantages in cost and scalability.

Financial terms of the recent deal with Admescope were not discussed.