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

Mon, Mar 06, 2017 09:30 CET 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 […]

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

Press release in pdf

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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

The GARD assay for potency assessment of skin sensitizing chemicals

Kathrin S. Zeller, Andy Forreryd, Tim Lindberg, Ann-Sofie Albrekt, Aakash Chawade, Malin Lindstedt Dept. of Immunotechnology, Lund University, Lund, Sweden; Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Alnarp, Sweden Summary The GARD assay is a cell-based transcriptional biomarker assay for the prediction of chemical  ensitizers1 targeting key event 3, dendritic cell activation, of the skin sensitization AOP. […]

Kathrin S. Zeller, Andy Forreryd, Tim Lindberg, Ann-Sofie Albrekt, Aakash Chawade, Malin Lindstedt
Dept. of Immunotechnology, Lund University, Lund, Sweden; Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Alnarp, Sweden

Summary
The GARD assay is a cell-based transcriptional biomarker assay for the prediction of chemical  ensitizers1 targeting key event 3, dendritic cell activation, of the skin sensitization AOP. Here, we present a modified assay based on Random Forest modelling, which is capable of predicting CLP
potency classes (1A – strong sensitizers, 1B – weak sensitizers, no category – non-sensitizers) as described by the European CLP regulation with an accuracy of 75 % (no cat), 75 % (1B) and 88 % (1A) based on a test set consisting of 18 chemicals previously unseen to the model.
We further can link the activation of distinct pathways to the chemical protein reactivity, showing that our transcriptomic approach can reveal information contributing to the understanding of underlying mechanisms in sensitization.

Results and Discussion
We here present a potency prediction approach based on a Random Forest model and 18 transcripts. 18 chemicals previously unseen to the model were classified as shown in Tables 1, 4 and Fig. 1. Interestingly, diethyl maleate, misclassified as 1A instead of 1B, is a human potency class 2 according to4, and iodopropynyl butylcarbamate, wrongly predicted as 1B instead of 1A, is classified as human potency class 44. Thus, the model seems to show more agreement with human data than CLP classifications (mainly derived from animal data) based on this limited dataset. Also Fig. 1C supports the hypothesis, that both data and model contain information allowing the prediction of human potency.
Furthermore, Key Pathway Advisor analysis reveals that these data can be used to investigate the cellular response in more detail (Table 3). In conclusion, we show that the modified GARD assay is capable of providing potency information, which is imperative for quantitative risk assessment of chemical sensitizers.

The GARD assay for potency assessment of skin sensitizing chemicals_ESTIV 2016_Zeller_p

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 […]

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.”

 

Press release in pdf

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 […]

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

Evaluation of high throughput gene expression platforms using a genomic biomarker signature for prediction of skin sensitization.

BMC Genomics. 2014 May 16;15:379. doi: 10.1186/1471-2164-15-379. Forreryd A., Johansson H., Albrekt A.S., Lindstedt M Abstract BACKGROUND: Allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) develops upon exposure to certain chemical compounds termed skin sensitizers. To reduce the occurrence of skin sensitizers, chemicals are regularly screened for their capacity to induce sensitization. The recently developed Genomic Allergen Rapid Detection […]

BMC Genomics. 2014 May 16;15:379. doi: 10.1186/1471-2164-15-379.

Forreryd A., Johansson H., Albrekt A.S., Lindstedt M

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) develops upon exposure to certain chemical compounds termed skin sensitizers. To reduce the occurrence of skin sensitizers, chemicals are regularly screened for their capacity to induce sensitization. The recently developed Genomic Allergen Rapid Detection (GARD) assay is an in vitro alternative to animal testing for identification of skinsensitizers, classifying chemicals by evaluating transcriptional levels of a genomic biomarker signature. During assay development and biomarker identification, genome-wide expression analysis was applied using microarrays covering approximately 30,000 transcripts. However, the microarray platform suffers from drawbacks in terms of low sample throughput, high cost per sample and time consuming protocols and is a limiting factor for adaption of GARD into a routine assay for screening of potential sensitizers. With the purpose to simplify assay procedures, improve technical parameters and increase sample throughput, we assessed the performance of three high throughput gene expression platforms–nCounter®, BioMark HD™ and OpenArray®–and correlated their performance metrics against our previously generated microarray data. We measured the levels of 30 transcripts from the GARD biomarker signature across 48 samples. Detection sensitivity, reproducibility, correlations and overall structure of gene expression measurements were compared across platforms.

RESULTS:

Gene expression data from all of the evaluated platforms could be used to classify most of the sensitizers from non-sensitizers in the GARD assay. Results also showed high data quality and acceptable reproducibility for all platforms but only medium to poor correlations of expression measurements across platforms. In addition, evaluated platforms were superior to the microarray platform in terms of cost efficiency, simplicity of protocols and sample throughput.

CONCLUSIONS:

We evaluated the performance of three non-array based platforms using a limited set of transcripts from the GARD biomarker signature. We demonstrated that it was possible to achieve acceptable discriminatory power in terms of separation between sensitizers and non-sensitizers in the GARD assay while reducing assay costs, simplify assay procedures and increase sample throughput by using an alternative platform, providing a first step towards the goal to prepare GARD for formal validation and adaption of the assay for industrial screening of potential sensitizers.

Link to article on line