SenzaGen signs global distribution agreement with Charles River Laboratories

SenzaGen announces today that the company has signed a global distribution agreement with Charles River Laboratories, a leading early-stage contract research organization, to market GARDskin to their clients globally. GARDskin has the potential to replace traditional methods in regulatory testing, in accordance with European REACH Regulation.

GARDskin is a genome-based test that – with higher accuracy than the current gold standard test method – reveals whether chemical substances are at risk of causing allergies.

“With this new global distribution agreement, we are linking up with yet another very strong partner for the global launch of GARDskin. Charles River is a leading player in many important geographical markets and in several different industries, and we are looking forward to working together in the commercialization of SenzaGen’s high performing, accurate allergy test,” says SenzaGen CEO Anki Malmborg Hager.

Charles River Laboratories International, Inc. is a global company that specializes in a range of preclinical laboratory services for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Among its customers are many of the world’s leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, academic institutions and government research centres. The company has more than 11,000 employees worldwide and is listed on the NYSE.

For more information
Anki Malmborg Hager, CEO, SenzaGen AB
Email: anki.malmborg.hager@senzagen.com
Telephone: +46 768 284822

 

About GARD
GARD is a group of tests for assessing chemical skin sensitizers. The tests make use of genetic biomarkers for more than 200 genes which cover the entire immune reaction and are relevant to predicting the risk of hypersensitivity. The tests have up to 90% reliability. This compares with the current predominant test method, experiments on mice, which has an accuracy of 70-75%. SenzaGen’s tests are also capable of measuring the potency of a substance’s allergenic properties. Consequently GARD tests provide a much more comprehensive basis for determining whether a substance should be classified as an allergen than current testing methods.

About SenzaGen
SenzaGen makes it possible to replace animal experiments with in vitro genetic testing to determine the allergenicity of the chemicals we come into contact with in our daily lives, such as for example in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, food products and dyes. The company’s patented tests are the most reliable on the market and provide more information than traditional evaluation methods. We ourselves sell the tests in Sweden and the USA, and we sell through partners in several other countries. Over the next few years the company will expand geographically, make alliances with more distribution partners and launch further unique tests. SenzaGen has its headquarters in Lund in Sweden and a subsidiary in San Francisco, USA. For more information visit www.senzagen.com

Positive research results for SenzaGen’s GARDpotency test published in leading scientific journal

SenzaGen announces today that a scientific evaluation of GARDpotency shows that the test reveals with high accuracy whether chemical substances are allergenic and how strong the allergic effect of the chemical is. The results have been published in the prestigious scientific journal Altex. GARDpotency is a gene-based test which is carried out in vitro, thus eliminating the need for animal testing.

The recently published scientific evaluation has been conducted by a research group at Lund University led by Malin Lindstedt, professor and senior lecturer at the Department of Immunotechnology. The research group has been able to identify 52 biomarkers which, with very high accuracy, can quantify the allergenic effect of a chemical substance. GARDpotency is thus able to meet the challenges facing chemical manufacturers as the authorities tighten the requirements for allergy testing at the same time as regulating and prohibiting the use of the animal tests which are currently in use.

“The results of this scientific evaluation underline the fact that GARDpotency has the potential to revolutionize the testing of the chemicals we come into contact with in our daily lives. A significant advantage of GARDpotency is that it enables existing animal-based methods in regulatory testing to be replaced in line with the EU’s REACH regulation,” says SenzaGen CEO Anki Malmborg Hager.

The EU’s chemical substances regulation REACH places strict controls on the evaluation, registration and use of chemical substances. Since 2013 cosmetics may not be allergy tested on animals and, under the REACH regulation, animal-free methods must be used if available. One consequence of this is that chemicals classified as allergenic must also be potency-classified without the use of animal testing. SenzaGen has commenced a limited launch of GARDpotency and is now working to adapt the test method to the needs of industry and to achieve OECD validation.

The scientific report is available via this link:
http://www.altex.ch/resources/Zeller__of_170412_v2.pdf

For more information:
Anki Malmborg Hager, CEO SenzaGen
E-mail: amh@senzagen.com
Phone: +46 768 284822

About GARD
GARD is a group of tests for assessing chemical skin sensitizers. The tests make use of genetic biomarkers for more than 200 genes which cover the entire immune reaction and are relevant to predicting the risk of hypersensitivity. The tests have 90% reliability. This compares with the current predominant test method, experiments on mice, which has a reliability rating of 72%. SenzaGen’s tests are also capable of measuring the potency of a substance’s allergenic properties. Consequently GARD tests provide a much more comprehensive basis for determining whether a substance should be classified as an allergen than current testing methods.

About SenzaGen
SenzaGen makes it possible to replace animal experiments with in vitro genetic testing to determine the allergenicity of the chemicals we come into contact with in our daily lives, such as for example in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, food products and dyes. The company’s patented tests are the most reliable on the market and provide more information than traditional evaluation methods. We ourselves sell the tests in Sweden and the USA, and we sell through partners in several other countries. Over the next few years the company will expand geographically, make alliances with more distribution partners and launch further unique tests. SenzaGen has its headquarters in Lund in Sweden and a subsidiary in San Francisco, USA. For more information visit www.senzagen.com

The GARD platform for potency assessment of skin sensitizing chemicals

ALTEX Online first published April 12, 2017, version 2 https://doi.org/10.14573/altex.1701101

Kathrin S. Zeller, Andy Forreryd, Tim Lindberg, Robin Gradin, Aakash Chawade and Malin Lindstedt,

Summary

Contact allergy induced by certain chemicals is a common health concern, and several alternative methods have been developed to fulfill the requirements of European legislation with regard to hazard assessment of potential skin sensitizers. However, validated methods, which provide information about the potency of skin sensitizers, are still lacking. The cell-based assay Genomic Allergen Rapid Detection (GARD), targeting key event 3, dendritic cell activation, of the skin sensitizer AOP, uses gene expression profiling and a machine learning approach for the prediction of chemicals as sensitizers or non-sensitizers. Based on the GARD platform, we here expanded the assay to predict three sensitizer potency classes according to the European Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) Regulation, targeting categories 1A (strong), 1B (weak) and no cat (non-sensitizer). Using a random forest approach and 70 training samples, a potential biomarker signature of 52 transcripts was identified. The resulting model could predict an independent test set consisting of 18 chemicals, six from each CLP category and all previously unseen to the model, with an overall accuracy of 78%. Importantly, the model was shown to be conservative and only underestimated the class label of one chemical. Furthermore, an association of defined chemical protein reactivity with distinct biological pathways illustrates that our transcriptional approach can reveal information contributing to the understanding of underlying mechanisms in sensitization.

Link to article online

SenzaGen and AstraZeneca initiate technology development collaboration

SenzaGen has signed a collaboration agreement with the global biopharmaceutical  company AstraZeneca. The collaboration focuses on  testing and development of SenzaGen’s sensitization test GARDair, in order to distinguish between allergens and irritants in the respiratory tract. The goal is the validation of in vitro toxicological tests that could be applied to the discovery of new treatments for respiratory diseases without respiratory tract irritancy as a side effect.

The collaboration means that SenzaGen will use its leading technology platform GARD, with the help of AstraZeneca’s well-documented substance libraries, to develop a new genomic signature to distinguish allergens from irritants in the respiratory tract, something which is not possible today with in vitro methods. GARD examines and finds allergens in chemicals and medicines through a unique technology in accordance with the international 3Rs principle, Reduce, Replace and Refine, as an alternative to animal testing.

“During our research and drug discovery activities, it is important to be able to identify and mitigate potential toxicological issues as early as possible, to ensure our novel candidate drugs have the right safety profile for patients. This requires in vitro toxicological methods that are properly validated for their predictivity of clinical toxicity and that are compatible with integration into the drug discovery process. By combining SenzaGen’s technological expertise and our experience with inhaled compounds, we aim to develop a novel method to investigate whether novel drug-like molecules induce similar genomic signatures as known respiratory irritants. That could ultimately be applied to steer away from a potential irritancy hazard and enable the discovery of safer drugs for patients’” says Jorrit Hornberg, Director of Discovery Safety at AstraZeneca Gothenburg.

With this new agreement SenzaGen is initiating yet another important development collaboration with the pharmaceutical industry. SenzaGen’s focus is on introducing its tests into the pharmaceutical industry and on striving to demonstrate that there are safer and more accurate tests than those that use animals.

“This collaboration with AstraZeneca is a milestone for SenzaGen. It shows that leading pharmaceutical companies see the potential of next-generation testing and that this testing has considerable industrial value. Furthermore, the collaboration will provide SenzaGen with valuable knowledge and will help to refine and develop our GARD test for further commercial opportunities,”says
Anki Malmborg Hager, CEO of SenzaGen.

The research project will run for 12 to 18 months and is in collaboration with AstraZeneca Gothenburg, contributing to the EU Horizon 2020 project granted to SenzaGen for the development of in vitro respiratory sensitization test.

For more information:
Anki Malmborg Hager, CEO, SenzaGen AB
E-mail: amh@senzagen.com
Phone: 46 768 284822

About GARD
GARD is a group of tests for assessing chemical skin sensitizers. The tests make use of genetic biomarkers for more than 200 genes which cover the entire immune reaction and are relevant to predicting the risk of hypersensitivity. The tests have 90% reliability. This compares with the current predominant test method, experiments on mice, which has a reliability rating of 72%. SenzaGen’s tests are also capable of measuring the potency of a substance’s allergenic properties. Consequently GARD tests provide a much more comprehensive basis for determining whether a substance should be classified as an allergen than current testing methods.

About SenzaGen
SenzaGen makes it possible to replace animal experiments with in vitro genetic testing to determine the allergenicity of the chemicals we come into contact with in our daily lives, such as for example in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, food products and dyes. The company’s patented tests are the most reliable on the market and provide more information than traditional evaluation methods. We ourselves sell the tests in Sweden and the USA, and we sell through partners in several other countries. Over the next few years the company will expand geographically, make alliances with more distribution partners and launch further unique tests. SenzaGen has its headquarters in Lund in Sweden and a subsidiary in San Francisco, USA. For more information visit www.senzagen.com.

About AstraZeneca
AstraZeneca is a global, science-led biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of diseases in three main therapy areas – Oncology, Cardiovascular & Metabolic Diseases and Respiratory. The Company also is selectively active in the areas of autoimmunity, neuroscience and infection. AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide.

SenzaGen introduces GARDpotency – a unique method for measuring the allergenicity of chemical substances

SenzaGen AB announces today the start of pilot sales of GARDpotency, the first animal-free method of analysis that can provide invaluable information on the allergenic potency of a chemical substance. GARDpotency is a unique complement to the previously launched test method GARDskin.

For a long time there has been huge demand from government and industry to be able to quantify the strength of chemicals’ allergenicity. SenzaGen’s new in vitro test method GARDpotency makes this possible for the first time. Quantitative information is a requirement of REACH, the EU chemicals regulation, and is of great help to companies that develop new cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and food products. Until now all testing for potency classification has been carried out on animals.

As a first step in the launch of GARDpotency, SenzaGen will present the test method for potential customers in connection with the Society of Toxicology’s annual conference 12-16 March 2017 in Baltimore, USA. The technology behind GARDpotency has been developed by a research group at Lund University. At the conference, which brings together around 6,500 toxicologists from more than 60 countries, the research team will present two scientific papers describing GARDpotency as well as new application areas for GARDskin. Summaries of the research results will soon be made available and will also be available on the SenzaGen website after the scientific publications are published.

“We see great market potential for GARDpotency. It is already possible to determine if a chemical can cause allergies, but there is a significant additional need among both manufacturers and regulatory bodies to be able to quantify how strong the allergenic effect is. Until now no animal-free testing has been available and we are extremely proud to be the first to offer this to the chemicals industry,” says SenzaGen’s CEO, Anki Malmborg Hager.

GARDskin is scientifically validated and has been approved for validation in accordance with OECD requirements on allergy tests. The test provides greater than 90 percent accuracy in the classification of allergenic substances.

For more information:
Anki Malmborg Hager,
CEO, SenzaGen AB
E-mail: amh@senzagen.com
Phone: 46 768 284822

About GARD
GARD is a group of tests for assessing chemical skin sensitizers. The tests make use of genetic biomarkers for more than 200 genes which cover the entire immune reaction and are relevant to predicting the risk of hypersensitivity. The tests have 90% reliability. This compares with the current predominant test method, experiments on mice, which has a reliability rating of 72%. SenzaGen’s tests are also capable of measuring the potency of a substance’s allergenic properties. Consequently GARD tests provide a much more comprehensive basis for determining whether a substance should be classified as an allergen than current testing methods.

About SenzaGen
SenzaGen makes it possible to replace animal experiments with in vitro genetic testing to determine the allergenicity of the chemicals we come into contact with in our daily lives, such as for example in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, food products and dyes. The company’s patented tests are the most reliable on the market and provide more information than traditional evaluation methods. We ourselves sell the tests in Sweden and the USA, and we sell through partners in several other countries. Over the next few years the company will expand geographically, make alliances with more distribution partners and launch further unique tests. SenzaGen has its headquarters in Lund in Sweden and a subsidiary in San Francisco, USA. For more information visit www.senzagen.com.

senzagen gard session

SenzaGen is presenting at hosted sessions at Society of Toxicology 56th Annual Meeting in Baltimore March 12-16, 2017

Lund University Scientist Andy Forreryd and SenzaGen CEO Anki Malmborg Hager will give a presentatios about the GARD assay at exhibitor hosted sessions at the Society of Toxicology 56th Annual Meeting in Baltimore, on the 13th and 14th of March.

The meeting promises more than 150 scientific sessions, approximately 350 ToxExpo exhibitors offering you the latest information on services and technology, thousands of abstract presentations, continuing education courses, awards presentations, receptions, career guidance and support, and more.

Presentations details

– Replacement of Animal Testing for CLP/GHS Classification of Skin Sensitizers is now possible using a Modified Genomic GARDskin [OECD TGP 4.106] Assay
SenzaGen presents the latest development towards reliable potency classification of chemicals according to CLP 1A and 1B, taking both LLNA and Human potency data in consideration. The assay is based on GARDskin and utilizes a refined gene expression signature developed specifically for potency categorization with high predictability.

Date: 3/13 Time: 13:30 -14:30  Room: 338

– Advantages with Genome Testing Opening up the Landscape for New Application Possibilities for Sensitization Testing using SenzaGen’s Genomic GARD Assay
SenzaGen’s GARD assay is based on expression analysis of predictive genomic biomarker signatures. Prediction calls of test substances are generated by computational methods based on machine learning. SenzaGen presents their experience in skin and respiratory sensitization testing, working with challenging compounds and mixtures, active substances, potency classification and NOEL interpretation.

Date: 3/14 Time: 13:30-14:30  Room: 338

These session are Exhibitor-Hosted Session. Although not an official part of the SOT Annual Meeting scientific program, its presentation is permitted by the Society.

Attendees are welcomed from researcher community, industry, manufacturers, regulatory agencies, consultants, CROs and every one interested in safety testing of chemical compounds.

Evaluation of the GARD assay in a blind Cosmetics Europe study

ALTEX Online first published February 17, 2017 https://doi.org/10.14573/altex.1701121

Johansson H., Gradin R., Forreryd A., Agemark M., Zeller K., Johansson A., Larne O., van Vliet E.,  Borrebaeck C., Lindstedt M.,

Summary

Chemical hypersensitivity is an immunological response towards foreign substances, commonly referred to as sensitizers, which gives rise primarily to the clinical symptoms known as allergic contact dermatitis. For the purpose of mitigating risks associated with consumer products, chemicals are screened for sensitizing effects. Historically, such predictive screenings have been performed using animal models. However, due to industrial and regulatory demand, animal models for the purpose of sensitization assessment are being replaced by animalfree testing methods, a global trend that is spreading across industries and market segments. To meet this demand, the Genomic Allergen Rapid Detection (GARD) assay was developed. GARD is a novel, cell-based assay that utilizes the innate recognition of xenobiotic substances by dendritic cells, as measured by a multivariate readout of genomic biomarkers. Following cellular stimulation, chemicals are classified as sensitizers or non-sensitizers based on induced transcriptional profiles. Recently, a number of animal-free methods were comparatively evaluated by Cosmetic Europe, using a coherent and blinded test panel of reference chemicals with human and local lymph node assay data, comprising a wide range of sensitizers and non-sensitizers. In this paper, the outcome of the GARD assay is presented. It was demonstrated that GARD is a highly functional assay with a predictive performance of 83% in this Cosmetics Europe dataset. The average accumulated predictive accuracy of GARD across independent datasets was 86%, for skin sensitization hazard. Keywords: GARD, sensitization, in vitro, predictive accuracy, alternative methods

Link to article e-pub ahead of print

 

Testing Human Skin and Respiratory Sensitizers—What Is Good Enough?

Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(2), 241; doi:10.3390/ijms18020241

Malmborg A., Borrebaeck C. A.K.

Abstract

Alternative methods for accurate in vitro assessment of skin and respiratory sensitizers are urgently needed. Sensitization is a complex biological process that cannot be evaluated accurately using single events or biomarkers, since the information content is too restricted in these measurements. On the contrary, if the tremendous information content harbored in DNA/mRNA could be mined, most complex biological processes could be elucidated. Genomic technologies available today, including transcriptional profiling and next generation sequencing, have the power to decipher sensitization, when used in the right context. Thus, a genomic test platform has been developed, denoted the Genomic Allergen Rapid Detection (GARD) assay. Due to the high informational content of the GARD test, accurate predictions of both the skin and respiratory sensitizing capacity of chemicals, have been demonstrated. Based on a matured dendritic cell line, acting as a human-like reporter system, information about potency has also been acquired. Consequently, multiparametric diagnostic technologies are disruptive test principles that can change the way in which the next generation of alternative methods are designed.
Keywords:

genomics; skin sensitization; adverse outcome pathways; next generation in vitro tests

senzagen member of the board

Ian Kimber joins the board of SenzaGen AB

SenzaGen AB, a diagnostic spin-off company from Lund University, is proud to announce that Prof. Ian Kimber will join the Board of Directors.

SenzaGen AB is a diagnostic company working to replace animal testing for sensitization predictions.

Prof Ian Kimber is currently Professor of Toxicology and Associate Dean for Business Development in the Faculty of Life Sciences at the University of Manchester. He has broad research interests at the interface between toxicology and immunology, with a particular focus on allergy and inflammation.  Professor Kimber holds, and has held, a variety of positions on national and international expert and scientific advisory committees. Currently these include the following:  Member UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) Committee for Safety of Devices, Programme Advisor Food Standards Agency Food Allergy and Intolerance Research Programme, and member MRC Translational Research Group. Professor Kimber was previously President of the British Toxicology Society (BTS) (2012-2014), and Chairman of the Board of the UK National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) (2008-2013).  

“I am delighted to be joining the Board of SenzaGen at such an exciting period of growth. Since our initial studies that led to the development and ultimate validation of the Local Lymph Node Assay I have maintained a keen interest in chemical allergy and in the development of novel approaches for improved hazard identification and risk assessment. In this respect harnessing fully the opportunities afforded by developments in the biomedical sciences is critical, and the work of SenzaGen in exploiting a genomic approach to pathway analysis and risk assessment is at the cutting edge of new developments”, says Prof Kimber.

Ian Kimber has published over 600 research papers, review articles and book chapters, and serves currently on the editorial boards of toxicology, immunology, dermatology and pathology journals.

“We are very happy to have Prof Kimber on board in SenzaGen”, since he is one of the forerunners in sensitization testing, says Prof Carl Borrebaeck, “his knowledge and interest in the field of allergy and replacement of animal testing with new technologies is very important to us. We value his participation in developing the next generation tests.”

Genomic allergen rapid detection in-house validation-a proof of concept.

Toxicol Sci. 2014 Jun;139(2):362-70. doi: 10.1093/toxsci/kfu046. Epub 2014 Mar 27.

Johansson H., Rydnert F., Kuehnl J., Schepky A., Borrebaeck C.A.K., Lindstedt M.

Abstract

Chemical sensitization is an adverse immunologic response to chemical substances, inducing hypersensitivity in exposed individuals. Identifying chemical sensitizers is of great importance for chemical, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic industries, in order to prevent the use of sensitizers in consumer products. Historically, chemical sensitizers have been assessed mainly by in vivo methods, however, recently enforced European legislations urge and promote the development of animal-free test methods able to predict chemical sensitizers. Recently, we presented a predictive biomarker signature in the myeloid cell line MUTZ-3, for assessment of skinsensitizers. The identified genomic biomarkers were found to be involved in immunologically relevant pathways, induced by recognition of foreign substances and regulating dendritic cell maturation and cytoprotective mechanisms. We have developed the usage of this biomarker signature into a novel in vitro assay for assessment of chemical sensitizers, called Genomic Allergen Rapid Detection (GARD). The assay is based on chemical stimulation of MUTZ-3 cultures, using the compounds to be assayed as stimulatory agents. The readout of the assay is a transcriptional quantification of the genomic predictors, collectively termed the GARD Prediction Signature (GPS), using a complete genome expression array. Compounds are predicted as either sensitizers or nonsensitizers by a Support Vector Machine model. In this report, we provide a proof of concept for the functionality of the GARD assay by describing the classification of 26 blinded and 11 nonblinded chemicals as sensitizers or nonsensitizers. Based on these classifications, the accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity of the assay were estimated to 89, 89, and 88%, respectively.

KEYWORDS:

GARD; allergic contact dermatitis; chemical sensitizers; in vitro assay; predictive assay; skin sensitization

Link to article on line