Altis Biosystems Looking For a Few Good Researchers Interested in Using RepliGut Platform
A research award program that Altis Biosystems introduced last year to encourage the use of its drug-screening technology worked so well the company is at it again this year.
The Durham-based biotechnology business has announced a second funding initiative focused on speeding up research into complex diseases through its RepliGut Planar model. The RepliGut platform helps scientists develop safer and more effective drugs by using human intestinal tissue for in vitro testing.
The company said it will offer a research award of up to $10,000 to a scientific team that incorporates the proprietary technology into a research project. Those who are interested can make a proposal by completing a form on the Altis website. Applications will be accepted through October 3, 2022, and the offer is open to both commercial and academic organizations.
Researchers can get more information about RepliGut by registering to view an upcoming company webinar, “Assessing Drug-Induced Gut Toxicity In Vitro.”
Altis noted that most clinical-stage drug development studies are halted prior to approval, often due to drug safety risks that aren’t identified in nonclinical research. So, there is a significant unmet need for risk assessment models that are affective during early drug development.
RepliGut replicates the intestinal epithelium – the thin layer of cells lining the small and large intestines that are vital to good health. The epithelium also is a critical barrier to pathogens and can be key to understanding the toxicity of compounds prior to in vivo trials.
“Altis’s RepliGut can accurately model the cellular complexity and physiology of the intestines,” said Bill Thelin, Ph.D., the company’s chief scientific officer. “Our goal is to provide unique cellular models capable of predicting clinical outcomes, which further improve nonclinical drug development by reducing time, cost, and the need for animal testing.”
Altis sells RepliGut as a kit, as well as providing a variety of contract research services for customers around inflammation, barrier function, toxicology and drug disposition.
Last year’s grant focused on studying radiation sickness
The company awarded last year’s research grant to the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute. The agency used the RepliGut platform as a model for evaluating acute radiation syndrome (ARS), also known as radiation sickness. It’s caused by irradiation of the body by a high dose of radiation over a short period of time.
There currently are no US Food and Drug Administration approved treatments for intestinal ARS, which can be life threating. Altis said the preliminary results of the study were positive and the research is continuing.
Altis was formed in 2017 to commercialize the RepliGut technology, which was developed in the Biomedical Engineering Department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.