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Agilent, Partners Developing Toxicology Testing Models with $6M NIH Grant

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Agilent Technologies announced that it and a team of researchers from six organizations are developing models for toxicology testing with a $6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.

The funding comes from the Common Fund's NIH Director's Transformative Research Projects Program and will go toward mapping and providing quantitative dose-response models for selected pathways of toxicity, Agilent said. Ultimately, the goal of the project is to create a public data resource where results of testing strategies for evaluating human health risks can be shared.

"The NIH award to the consortium underscores the importance of major stakeholders working together to create this community resource and ultimately to advance toxicity testing," Gustavo Salem, vice president and general manager of Agilent's Biological Systems Division, said in a statement.

Agilent will provide new strategies for data management and software for data analysis and visualization. The software will be based on the company's GeneSpring multi-omics analysis platform. Agilent's microarrays and mass spectrometers will also be used to collect the data.

The project's initial focus is on endocrine disruption pathways with an eye toward mapping the complete human "toxome." The effort, Agilent said, will improve accuracy, lower costs, and reduce the time required to predict the toxicity of new compounds.

Thomas Hartung, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing, leads the consortium. Agilent's lead investigator is Michael Rosenberg, director of informatics in the firm's Life Sciences Group.

The other principal investigators are James Yager, professor of preventive medicine at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; Robert Kavlock, director of the National Agency for Computational Toxicology at the US Environmental Protection Agency; Mel Andersen, associate director of the Hamner Institute for Health Sciences; Kim Boekelheide, professor of medical sciences at Brown University; and Albert Fornace, molecular cancer research chair at Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University Medical Center.

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