U.K.’s Medicines Discovery Catapult partners to reduce use of animals in research

Teva drug testing
U.K. startup supporter Medicines Discovery Catapult is partnering with the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement & Reduction of Animals in Research. (Teva)

U.K. startup supporter Medicines Discovery Catapult (MDC) is partnering with the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement & Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) to speed up the translation of more predictive in vitro research models for new products and services and reduce the number of animals used in drug research.

The two groups said the purpose of the collaboration is to support the development of the approach by NC3R (replace, refine and reduce research animals) as well as support new technologies that don’t rely on animals. They believe the outcome could translate into new products and services that would be adopted by the wider drug-discovery community.

“It is vital that early drug discovery researchers are provided with tools more reflective of human biology for basic and applied science,” they said in a joint statement. “These more predictive models will allow greater success of potential drugs in the clinic and better treatment options for patients.”

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The partnership was announced as part of NC3R’s Tools to Technologies Research Showcase, in which 11 research groups are competing for a share of $259 million in grant funding from NC3R to be matched with in-kind support by Medicines Discovery Catapult. Winners are to be announced in 2019.

Last month, MDC announced it was collaborating with AstraZeneca to develop the use of sound waves in mass spectrometry for drug-discovery applications. The technology uses sound energy to spray fine, charged particles into the analyzer, contactless and without contamination, at a rate of up to three samples per second.