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Absorption Systems initiates collaboration with academic researchers to develop improved in-vitro pharmacokinetic predictions

EXTON, Pa.—In a collaborative effort, Absorption Systems isworking with a trio of academic researchers to develop technologies to improvethe predictive power of certain in-vitro/in-vivo correlations (IVIVCs).
The trio includes Drs. Ken Korzekwa and Swati Nagar ofTemple University and Dr. Jeff Jones of Washington State University.
For this collaborative research project, in-vitro data on drug-metabolizing enzymes, membranepartitioning, cellular permeability and drug transporters will be used todevelop improved mathematical models for human pharmacokinetic (PK) prediction.Absorption Systems is providing experimental test systems, data and expertisein permeability and transporters.
 Financial terms of the agreement were not released. 
Using computer simulations, Korzekwa, Nagar and Jones aredeveloping models to predict the extent of involvement of various clearanceprocesses for a structurally diverse set of drugs. In preliminary experiments,permeability and transport have been simulated for a number of compounds.
"We anticipate that this research will result in improvedmethods that can be used broadly within the industry to predict a number of PKparameters and potential drug-drug interactions," says Korzekwa.
Absorption Systems has carved out a niche in the crowdedcontract research organization field by focusing on preclinical testing, whichoccurs before compounds are tested in humans. The company got its startcommercializing a test developed by Hidalgo, who pioneered the use of a cellline, known as the Caco-2 cell mode, in an in-vitro test that predicts human oral drug absorption.Hidalgo developed the model with Dr. Ron Borchardt, his postdoctoral adviser atthe University of Kansas.
Absorption Systems has since expanded its portfolio of servicesto include preclinical testing for all aspects of the absorption, distribution,metabolism and excretion properties of experimental small-molecule drugs.
According to Chris Bode, vice president of scientific andcorporate communications at Absorption Systems, he met Korzekwa when he workedat a startup that was run by a mutual friend. 
"After joining the faculty of Temple University School ofPharmacy, he came to us with this collaboration," Bode says. "His background isin drug metabolism—in-vitro enzymologyand chemistry—and the use of computational approaches to predict in-vivo behavior of drugs."
Bode says the company was attracted by the good mix ofskills and background of the academic researchers, as well as the hope thatthey can help make a difference for patients. The academic group is applyingfor a grant, and Absorption Systems is a co-investigator.
The grant is for five years, but Bode says the team shouldsee some results within two to three years. The grant is focused mainly on drugtransporters.
According to Bode, the focus of the collaboration "is theproduction of in-vitro data (byAbsorption Systems) on drug-transporter interactions, combined with publishedclinical data, to develop predictive software by our academic collaborators."
"A number of in-vitrotest systems are available, and in many cases they successfully predict the PKof drug candidates," he adds. "However, the behavior of many other drugscontinues to defy prediction, for reasons that we are only beginning to understand.If we develop a tool to reliably predict drug performance in humans, we mightbe able to assess potential drug-drug interactions without necessarily exposinghealthy volunteers to the risks inherent in early PK studies, or at leastminimize their exposure."
Dr. Ismael Hidalgo, chief scientist of Absorption Systems,says, "we look forward to collaborating with our academic research colleaguesin this important project, which we expect will lead to the creation of toolsof great practical value."

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