Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH.2013.0-1 | Award Amount: 5.23M | Year: 2014
Cell-based screenings are today a necessary tool for all types of clinical development and/or market approval of new drugs and chemicals. The major change in the last decade is a shift towards more physiologically relevant yet complex and sensitive cell models, like stem cells, and more recently, the shift to human induced pluripotent cells. Stem-cell technology has the potential to revolutionize drug discovery, making models available for primary screens, secondary pharmacology, safety pharmacology, metabolic profiling and toxicity evaluation. The overall aim of DropTech is the development of automated handling processes for stem cells with integrated readout methods, required for the use of stem cells in high-throughput assays such as the embryonic stem cell test (EST). DropTech will result on the one hand in a fully automated screening platform, usable by the industrial partners for reproducible and standardized high-throughput screening services and aggregate production. On the other hand a system that is directly exploitable for industrialization and marketing will be available to perform reliable and fast at least semi-automated screening approaches for customers. Therefore, the complete workflow of the EST, including stem cell expansion, embryoid body formation in hanging drops and transfer to 2D conditions will be automated using robotic and microfluidics systems. This will enable standardized, fast and efficient embryotoxicity screenings reducing the need for animal tests. DropTech will enable testing in a small- and medium-scaled budget accessible for SMEs and academia in the field of biotech and biomedicine. The DropTech platform will have therefore a significant impact on the development of new medication and therapies and will enable personalized medicine approaches as well as - in future - regenerative medicine. DropTech facilitate the use of cell models with highest biological relevance (human pluripotent stem cells) in their native conformation.