Efferent Labs taps Evotec to advance implantable biosensor for R&D, oncology

Efferent Labs has inked a deal with Evotec to develop its implantable biosensor technology. The device, which is injected into a patient or lab animal, contains living cells to measure cellular function in vivo.

Buffalo, New York-based Efferent is developing its CytoComm Living Biosensor System for use in the preclinical R&D, clinical R&D and clinical markets. The company expects to enter the preclinical R&D market for CRO use in animals later this year and to launch human trials of the device in 2019, CEO Bill Rader said.

“This technology represents the first implantable biosensor to integrate living cells to detect, process, and monitor complex intracellular processes,” said Efferent Chief Medical Officer Dr. Spencer Rosero, in the statement. “The platform provides a powerful tool to facilitate wireless, high definition mapping and monitoring of target pathways allowing researchers to leverage data analytics in real time.”

The biosensor is injected just below the skin of the animal or patient and uses living cells to measure levels of molecules such as biomarkers, proteins and medications in the cells. It transmits data wirelessly to the cloud for analysis, according to the company. Wirelessly collected data means that researchers need not handle animals as often, so they may require fewer lab animals as a result.

Efferent is also targeting dose determination in clinical R&D and is working toward chemotherapy dose monitoring as the biosensor’s first human use, Rader said. The device could enable the wireless monitoring of cellular responses in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy. Collecting real-time data around drug levels and other markers from patients could allow physicians to tailor therapy to the individual, the company said.

Under the agreement, Efferent and Evotec will develop the CytoComm technology through commercialization, concentrating on optimizing and validating targeted pathways, according to a statement. Evotec, which bills itself as a drug discovery and development partnership company, will lend its cell biology, pathway modeling and in vivo pharmacology prowess to the project.

Hamburg, Germany-based Evotec’s other tie-ups include a five-year deal with Celgene on neurodegenerative diseases and a collaboration with Dublin’s Carrick Therapeutics, which is seeking therapies for cancer.