DiscoveryBioMed, Inc. (DBM) is a life sciences and biotechnology company, located in Birmingham, AL, formed with the ultimate goal of integrating human cell physiology with the drug discovery critical path. DBM’s founder, Erik Schwiebert, Ph.D., a physiologist by trade, launched the company in October 2007 and closed on seed capital investment with Greer Capital Advisors in November of 2007 (Birmingham Technology Fund). Since then DBM has continued to grow and gain recognition both locally and nationally.
Discovery BioMed focuses on three key areas: Renal, lung, and metabolic related diseases. Within these three areas, DBM offers several primary and immortalized cell cultures. We offer multi and single cyst derived autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) primary cultures (2D and 3D), immortalized human normal and asthmatic airway smooth muscle cell lines, and associated specialty media, as well as cell toxicity panels and high throughput screening based upon these models.
DiscoveryBioMed’s mission is to fill a critical niche within the drug discovery industry by specializing in custom human cell engineering and human cell-based drug discovery. Our R&D infrastructure and know-how are leveraged as a CRO service to support the commercial and academic drug discovery community by integrating human cell platforms at any and all points within the drug discovery critical path, from HTS assay development and optimization to lead prioritization and progression, with the end product being ‘high value’ clinical candidates.
Academic labs and small biotechs have been adopters of our human cell platforms early in the drug discovery process, whereas large BioPharmas have been more interested in DBM’s capacity to design, develop and implement primary human cell systems for lead prioritization and progression. As an example of our services, DBM routinely performs targeted and phenotypic HTS assay development and primary HTS, custom primary cell culture and/or immortal cell line creation and secondary/tertiary validation and mechanism of action analysis with primary human cell systems.
DBM refers to our novel scientific approach and niche within this marketplace as Humanized Drug Discovery.
If the end goal is to give a drug to a human patient, why not discover new drugs with relevant human cell platforms? The DBM approach to drug discovery is designed to improve the attrition rate and yield high value clinical candidates by introducing disease relevant and physiologically relevant human cell platforms as early as possible in the drug discovery process.
Human Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease (ADPKD) cultures are seeded into 3D biogels and cultured from days to weeks where highly dynamic cysts form. Using our high-content imaging system and in 384-well format, these cysts are followed and imaged over the duration of the experiment where cyst number and size are determined. Additional endpoints like viability, excreted factors, RNA or protein can be measured as well.
Unlike other systems that require the addition of a stimulus for cystogenesis to occur, our system requires only our optimized media. Forskolin or Arginine-Vasopressin can be added to accelerate cyst formation, but is not required for cyst formation.
We currently have cystic cultures from 7 donors. 4 from PKD1 donors, 1 from a PKD2 donor and 2 that remain to be genotyped.
Please see our Resource tab for a pdf on the evolution of our 3D PKD assay.
Utilizing our autosomal dominant polycystic kidney diseased primary cultures, we can perform a 3D in vitro analysis of cystogenesis. We seed our cells directly into biogel where they natively form cysts without any additional additives or drivers. Using live cell imaging we can track individual cysts measuring their change in size over time in response to treatment. Additional endpoints, including viability can be measured at the termination of the experimental time-course. We can customize this assay for each client depending on the therapeutic asset that is employed.
DBM offers cell immortalization services using a variety of methods (SV40T, hTERT, etc.) and work with our clients to determine a method (or methods) that best suits their needs. We offer volume discounts and strive to be as custom as possible. Please inquire to learn about exact pricing for your project.
DBM has a proven track record in designing custom cell based assays for use in the human drug discovery space and is able to offer completely customizable cell based engineering and assays. Intereseted customers are encouraged to submit a request and we can work together to find a custom solution to your needs.
Examples of Custom Programs in Recent Years:
• Primary human cell culture establishment and human cell immortalization and cell line creation
• Primary mouse cell culture establishment and mouse cell immortalization and cell line creation
• Hit-to-lead and lead asset testing on normal and ADPKD human kidney cells
• Targeted high-throughput screening in 3D or 2D formats w/ human lung, renal, and vascular cells
• Hit-to-lead and lead asset testing with a panel of bioassays in differentiated human adipocytes and other human cells relevant to metabolic diseases
• HTS and validation using ion-sensitive fluorescent probes or voltage-sensitive dyes in intact, living cells at physiological temperatures and in real time
We offer 2D and 3D Wound Healing Assays (Wound Closure Assay / Scratch Assay). Utilizing our Cytation 5 anchored automated imaging system, we can analyze cell migration over hours to days in a 96-well format, providing high enough throughput to handle a study of any size.
Wound Healing Closure data can be complemented with additional imaging and biochemical analysis to provide a data package that completely assesses the therapeutic's efficacy.
With DBM specializing in renal biology, we are able to offer human autosomal dominant kidney disease positive renal cell cultures isolated from individual cysts that are positive for either PKD1 or PKD2 mutations. We are able to ship p0-p2 cryovials that can be seeded directly by the customer. We also offer normal human cultures as controls.
Immortalized versions of these cells are currently under development.
Discovery BioMed focuses on three key areas: Renal, lung, and metabolic related diseases. Within these three areas, DBM currently offers immortalized human normal and asthmatic airway smooth muscle cell lines with immortalized normal and autosomal dominant polycystic kidney diseased cells currently under development.
The current ‘gold standard’ for in vitro cell safety vs. toxicity assessment for hit-to-lead or lead assets is the mouse 3T3 fibroblast. In DBM’s view, this is antiquated and insufficient.
We offer basic testing platforms in 2D culture format for a panel of different human tissue-derived primary cell cultures. One or more cell types from each tissue can be tested. Our offerings are menu-driven and, therefore, are customizable to each client.
All of our assays are customizable, but we offer the following "off the shelf" cell based toxicity assays:
• Human Renal Cell Panel: Includes 2D TC-based assessment of three different primary cultures of human mixed cortical, mixed medullary, and proximal tubule-derived renal epithelial cells.
• Human Lung Cell Panel: Includes 2D TC-based assessment of four different primary cultures of human large airway epithelial cells, small airway epithelial cells, lung microvascular endothelial cells and airway smooth muscle cells.
• Human Vascular Cell Panel: Includes 2D TC-based assessment of four different primary cultures of human arterial Endothelial cells, venous endothelial cells, microvascular endothelial cells and vascular smooth muscle cells.
• Human Skin Cell Panel: Includes 2D TC-based assessment of two different primary cultures of human keratinocytes, melanocytes, and dermal fibroblasts.
• Human Tissue Snapshot Cell Panel: Includes 2D TC-based assessment of primary cultures of human mixed renal epithelial cells, mixed skin cells (keratinocytes, melanocytes and dermal fibroblasts), large airway epithelial cells, and vascular endothelial cells.
DBM has designed and optimized specialty media that we can sell with our cells or for specific cell types where we feel that our media may be superior. If purchasing any of the above cells, we encourage our clients to try our media. We also offer proprietary methods and SOPs that we can sell to clients interested in performing assays similar to what we have developed, optimized and performed for our own R&D programs.
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