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Gentest®
Blood Cell-Based Assay Services

Evaluate drug efficacy or toxicity rapidly and reliably using highly customizable blood cell-based assays.

Leverage Discovery’s extensive expertise in primary blood cell biology for evaluating drug effectiveness and deleterious drug impact.

Our comprehensive, customizable blood cell-based assays cover various therapeutic classes, including small molecules, monoclonal antibodies, bispecific antibodies, antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), oligonucleotide-based drugs, CAR-T cells, and more.

Hematopoietic Cell Development and Evaluation

Discovery’s preclinical experts have decades of experience in hematopoietic cell development and evaluation. We can assess your drug candidates in fit-for-purpose assays to study drug efficacy or deleterious drug effects. 

Our in vitro blood cell-based assays account for nuanced cell culture requirements to ensure that you receive biologically relevant data. We also welcome the opportunity to develop and execute customized studies, or to replicate published assays using your therapeutic candidates.

Discovery’s T cell activation and cytokine release assay services help you predict your therapeutic’s risk of causing cytokine release syndrome (CRS), also called cytokine storm, before clinical trials. Our experts can assess the efficacy of drugs intended to restrict cytokine secretion. As well as:
  • Assess T cell activation and cytokine release potential of your drug candidates
  • Enable IND submissions with soluble, wet bound, and air-dried presentations to fulfill Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements
  • Evaluate antibody-based drugs, small molecules, and CAR-T cells within oncology and across other therapeutic areas
  • Alternatively adapt to evaluating restriction of cytokine release by allergy and anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Facilitate drug candidate comparison with commercially availablecare drugs with known stimulatory or inhibitory properties

Discovery’s HbF induction assay service screens drugs for their ability to increase levels of fetal hemoglobin (HbF), a high affinity oxygen transport protein that has been successful in easing serious hemoglobinopathy impacts.

Our service offers the ability to screen multiple compounds at once and allows for HbF induction comparison between test drugs and hydroxyurea (HU), the current, but suboptimal, standard of care for sickle cell disease (SCD) treatment.

Advanced, IND-Enabling Drug Screening for SCD and Hemoglobinopathies

  • Screen potential drugs for SCD and other hemoglobinopathies, including β-thalassemia
  • Confirm potential synergistic effects when tested in combination with HU
  • Use primary human CD34+ cells that are expertly expanded and induced to differentiate along the erythroid (red blood cell) lineage
  • Allow for a relatively high throughput with 96-well formats
  • Measure HbF directly by flow cytometry and ELISA, as opposed to indirect assays evaluating RNA transcript numbers
Discovery’s off-target toxicity and linker stability assays help you predict two distinct issues with antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) therapeutics. Using modified colony-forming cell (CFC) assays, we evaluate your ADC candidates for potential hematotoxicity concerns, including neutropenia and thrombocytopenia. Our experts can assess the stability of your ADC’s linker in the presence of neutrophils, which are known to cause their own demise by releasing enzymes that cleave the drug payload from the ADC. Gentest® Off-Target Toxicity Service
  • Assess neutropenia or thrombocytopenia potential using expertly performed CFC assays
  • Replicate in vivo cell biology conditions in an in vitro assay using primary bone marrow cells and a semi-solid matrix with specific growth factors
  • Enable IND submissions when hematotoxicity is a concern
  • Save time and money versus animal studies
  • Reflect real-world situations with drug combination studies
  • Allow comparisons with commercially available therapeutics
Gentest® Linker Stability Service
  • Assesses ADC linker stability using in vitro-derived neutrophils
  • Provide biologically relevant data for linker stability by incubating ADCs with neutrophils derived in vitro from primary bone marrow progenitor cells
  • Measure the demise of linker-cleaving neutrophils with flow cytometric analysis of CD66b+ bright cells, thereby assessing linker stability

Discovery’s antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC) assay services help assess yourantibody's ability to facilitate effector cell-mediated cell killing by natural killer (NK) cells. Our experts can also help you screen your antibodies for complement events in our complement-dependent cytotoxicity (CDC) assay.

Gentest® ADCC Assay Service

  • Allow you to rank your antibody candidates’ tumor/cancer cell killing effectiveness
  • Evaluate bi-specific antibodies and other immune cell modulators
  • Use primary cells (PBMCs, specific enriched cell populations, or pre-screened natural killer V158+ cells) for biologically relevant data
  • Provide flow cytometry-based readouts
  • Adapt to your program’s customized needs

Gentest® CDC Assay Services

  • Screen antibody-based therapeutics for complement events
  • Facilitate safety profiling
  • Ensure better responses by using fresh blood (<4 hours old)
  • Provide flow cytometry readouts

By utilizing our state-of-the-art technologies and expert knowledge, Discovery’s mast cell activation (MCA) assay service helps preclinical researchers identify compounds that could potentially reverse mast cell activation, as measured by CD63 expression.

  • Predicts drug candidate efficacy in mast cell activation assay
  • Uses primary CD34+ cells cultured with specific growth factors to generate mature mast cells
  • Adapts to your needs – We will test compounds for activation/deactivation or provide you with mature cells for your specific allergy program

While megakaryocytic colony forming cell (CFC) assays are predictive of thrombocytopenia caused by drugs impacting the primitive progenitor stage, toxicity can also occur at later stages of cell development.

Discovery’s megakaryocyte maturation and platelet development assay services assess the off-target toxicity potential of your drug candidate on developing megakaryocytes and megakaryocyte-derived platelets at different stages of cell development.

  • Predict drug candidate toxicity to developing megakaryocytes and platelets
  • Use primary CD34+ cells cultured with specific growth factors to induce megakaryocytic lineage differentiation
  • Adapt to your needs-liquid culture allows for drug administration and/or washing out at multiple timepoints, simulating clinical treatment options
  • Track megakaryocytic development and drug interference using flow cytometry
  • Deepen toxicity understanding with biologically relevant data

While myeloid and erythroid colony forming cell (CFC) assays are predictive of neutropenia and severe anemia caused by drugs impacting the primitive progenitor stage, toxicity can also occur at later stages of cell development.

Discovery’s myeloid and erythroid cell maturation assay services further assess the off-target toxicity potential of your drug candidate on developing neutrophils and red blood cells at different stages of cell development.

  • Predict drug candidate toxicity to developing neutrophils and red blood cells
  • Use primary CD34+ cells cultured with specific growth factors to induce myeloid or erythroid lineage differentiation
  • Adapt to your needs-liquid culture allows for drug administration and/or washing out at multiple timepoints, simulating clinical treatment options
  • Track neutrophil and red blood cell development and drug interference using flow cytometry
  • Deepen toxicity understanding with biologically relevant data

Discovery has a team of highly skilled and collaborative cell biology experts who can replicate protocols or publications you would like to use for evaluating the function of your compounds.

Additionally, you have the option to choose from one of Discovery’s standard assay platforms. Experienced in replicating blood cell-based protocols and publications.

  • Enable a range of customized services: Redirected T cell killing assays
  • Mixed lymphocyte reactions (MLR) to evaluate checkpoint inhibitor function
  • CAR-T cell biology

Experts in Cell-Based Assays, Predictive Hematotoxicity,
and Drug Screening Services.

Discovery’s expert cell biologists have developed numerous novel assays, enabling us to offer a broader and more strategic array of services to our clients. Our ongoing innovations accelerate drug discovery and development, ultimately enhancing patient outcomes.

Featured Scientist - Dr. Emer Clarke, VP, Cell Biology

Dr. Clarke has over 25 years of experience in stem cell biology, spanning both clinical and industrial settings. She plays a pivotal role in driving innovations and managing Discovery’s scientific operations, including research and development and client services. Dr. Clarke is also actively involved in client affairs, offering one-on-one consultations, study design, and data analysis.

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