Hepregen Corp. Introduces Toxicity Screening Platform

Hepregen Corporation is a leading provider of bioengineered solutions that increase success in drug development in order to improve patient safety. The company is focused on improving and commercializing its microliver platform, HepatoPac, into the drug-development pipeline of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. The platform technology creates the capacity to offer a breakthrough technology for toxicity screening and a new platform for drug discovery. It’s main functionality is predicting the clearance of drugs, which are slowly removed by the liver. It combines sophisticated biological and engineering technologies to create an in vitro liver model.

Hepregen and two of its pharmaceutical customers, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Elan Pharmaceuticals, presented preclinical data surrounding HepatoPac’s success at the annual meeting of the International Society for the Study of Xenobiotics (ISSX). Of the commercially available drugs tested, 89 percent were predicted correctly, while the remaining drugs were within three-to-four fold. Suspension hepatocytes typically used for this type of study do not turn over these drugs sufficiently to make this determination. These results demonstrate that Hepregen’s HepatoPac liver model can be used effectively to predict the clearance of low turnover drugs in humans.

“Hepregen’s goal is to develop and provide bioengineered solutions to our partners that reduce risk in drug development and lead to safer drugs. The data presented at the ISSX meeting provide further validation, positioning HepatoPac to become the industry standard for reducing attrition rates caused by liver liability,” commented Co-Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer, Bernadette C. (Bonnie) Fendrock. “We are pleased to have our partners present their research progress.”

Traditionally used suspension hepatocytes have a short life span (hours), and accurate predictions are harder to come by. They begin to lose their functionality and the entire culture dies. However, The technology behind HepatoPac creates a microenvironment where primary hepatocytes (both human and animal) remain capable of working and physiologically functional for several weeks.

Currently, Hepregen has partnered with over 20 pharmaceutical companies using the HepatoPac technology, including Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Elan Pharmaceuticals, Pfizer, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Sanofi-Aventis. In 2008, the Company was spun out from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and led the company’s Series A financing.

Hepregen will be presenting its products and technologies at  OneMedForum SF 2012, on January 9 – 12.

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