Simulations Plus, Inc. (Nasdaq: SLP), a leading provider of modeling and simulation software and services for pharmaceutical safety and efficacy, today announced that it has received a Phase II SBIR NIH grant for the further development and validation of its novel BIOLOGXsym™ platform, which is quantitative systems toxicology (QST) software focused on complex macromolecule liver safety. The grant provides approximately $1.7 million for both software development and wet lab work, which will be accomplished via a partnership with the University of Pittsburgh Drug Discovery Institute (UPDDI). The UPDDI will utilize its human vascularized Liver Acinus MicroPhysiology System (vLAMPS), a next-generation organ-on-a-chip system that allows for comparison of liver toxicity in liver cells collected from healthy versus liver-diseased donors, to screen for signals related to liver safety mechanisms and provide that as input data for BIOLOGXsym simulations. Principal Investigator (PI) on this project is Dr. Kyunghee Yang. The combined in vitro laboratory data plus software offering will be available commercially following the 2-year development and testing period.
Dr. Paul Watkins, the Director of the Institute for Drug Safety Sciences at University of North Carolina and consultant for the project, said: “The liver QST software provided by Simulations Plus, DILIsym®, is now used to improve the safety of many drugs in development. BIOLOGXsym will serve a similar purpose for large molecules and will incorporate the novel information that can be obtained from vLAMPS. This collaboration with UPDDI will expand the spectrum of drugs in development that will benefit from QST to include therapeutic proteins, monoclonal antibodies, and potentially viruses used in gene therapy. Importantly, it will pioneer application of QST software to the evolving ‘human-on-a-chip’ systems.”
Dr. D. Lansing Taylor, the Director of the University of Pittsburgh Drug Discovery Institute and Co-PI on the project, stated: “The integration of testing biologics in human liver microphysiology systems containing four or more liver cell types organized to mimic the liver acinus, coupled through the BioSystics™ Analytics Platform (formerly the Microphysiology Systems Database) to the BIOLOGXsym computational modeling and simulation software creates a powerful QST platform. Dr. Lawrence Vernetti, a Co-PI on the project, will lead the project at the UPDDI.”
Brett Howell, President of the DILIsym Services division of Simulations Plus, added, “We are excited to receive this NIH grant, one of the largest ever procured by SLP, which validates our plan for focusing on the liver safety of complex molecules as an important market need, and also allows us to expand our software and services offerings to a rapidly growing side of therapeutic development.”
Funding for this collaboration is made possible by the National Institutes of Health through grant R44TR003535. Views expressed in this press release do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does any mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organization imply endorsement by the United States Government.