MuScreen comes on scene

Crown launches platform to expand in-vivo efficacy research of immuno-oncology agents

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SANTA CLARA, Calif.—Crown Bioscience, a wholly owned subsidiary of Crown Bioscience International and a global drug discovery and development solutions company providing translational platforms to advance oncology and metabolic disease research, has announced the launch of MuScreen, a new immuno-oncology (IO) service platform utilizing CrownBio’s unique, fully characterized syngeneic models.
“As a leading oncology preclinical solutions provider, our ultimate goal is to deliver superior data in a well-organized and cost-effective manner,” said Qian Shi, vice president of cancer pharmacology and in-vitro cancer biology at Crown Bioscience. “By pooling our agents together in a single run, we can dramatically reduce model usage and resource requirements, thus accelerating the process while optimizing its productivity.”
MuScreen will be offered as a streamlined service for in-vivo pharmacodynamic (PD) and efficacy testing using up to 20 syngeneic models. Tissue microarrays can be run in parallel to the in-vivo study for high-throughput molecular analysis of multiple syngeneic treatment-naïve tumor samples. MuScreen enables users to quickly identify the correct model and relevant PD effect for IO agents, and it is particularly relevant for testing combination strategies, allowing next-stage decisions to be made rapidly and efficiently.
According to Crown Bioscience’s MuScreen team, the idea for this platform was prompted when several clients requested their compounds to be screened in a number of in-vivo syngeneic models to make a go or no-go decision on their compounds. “MuScreen can be used to test single-agent therapies as well as the combination strategies. It was not intended to prefer either one. The advantage of having well-characterized models is that your baseline data is already in place for you to select models and compare combination data with standard of care data,” the team noted.
By running MuScreen on a large scale, CrownBio is confident that the quality of PD data will improve, providing an even more complete dataset for both pharmacodynamics and efficacy studies.
“By scheduling several projects into a single pooled run, we are able to share common groups such as the vehicle group, therefore reducing the number of animals required and reducing costs. We have already characterized and validated more than 20 syngeneic models against key checkpoint inhibitors such as CTLA-4, PD-1 and PD-L1, as well as collecting pre- and post-treated immunophenotyping, and creating pre- and post-treated tumor microarrays. All this data is stored in MuBase, our searchable database of mouse cancer models, which is available online for our clients,” the MuScreen team adds.
Joining CrownBio’s broad range of models, including what is reportedly the world’s largest commercial portfolio of PDX models, the launch of MuScreen is, the company says, testament to CrownBio’s continued commitment to providing industry-leading service for global drug discovery.
The platform became operative in the first week of May. Compounds were enrolled into the screen on a first-come, first-served basis until 10 group studies were reached. Additional orders will be given priority for enrollment into the following screening round.
As noted by the MuScreen team, “Crown simply wished to be conservative during the early rounds of MuScreen. Now that we have proven results, we are scaling up to be able to handle larger group of studies.”
The team tells DDNews that they will continue to expand offerings. “In addition to increased capacity, we will also continue to extend our validation data for key immunotherapy targets to ensure our portfolio of models are the most relevant and well-characterized in-vivo models available in the market today. Combined with the expansion of our MuPrime program to create collections of mouse allograft models akin to our human PDX HuPrime models, MuScreen will provide a comprehensive platform to support rapid decision-making for novel immunotherapies and agents, via rapid PD, immunophenotyping and efficacy studies.”

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