Dr Davide D'Amico, Chief Executive Officer of ZeClinics provides his perspective on the impact of CRACK IT Solutions on the development and application of the ZeGlobalTox technology platform for drug development, and on ZeClinics business more generally.
ZeClinics business innovation is focused on the use of zebrafish for drug discovery and biomedicine research and development. Although the zebrafish itself has natural properties contributing to its utility (small size, fast life cycle, transparency etc.), our biggest focus is on developing advanced phenotypic screening assays to maximise the potential of this tropical fish in the discovery of new medicines.
The ZeGlobalTox, a medium/high-throughput preclinical zebrafish embryo screen is capable of identifying compounds with potential cardiac-, hepato- and neuro-toxicity liabilities in the same animal. It has been awarded funding by the CRACK IT Solutions program to support its further development and uptake into application.
The CRACK IT award enabled the validation of the Solution, but also brought several indirect and unexpected benefits to both the company and the ZeGlobalTox platform. It has driven us to develop the ZeCardio, the most advanced analysis software of non-invasive cardiovascular function assessment in living zebrafish larvae, through a collaboration with a leading global pharmaceutical company (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1E07jkKHbOo). With this we are able to measure in drug-treated larvae complex parameters, such as heart atrial and ventricular frequencies, arrhythmias, QT prolongation, ejection fraction and arterial/venous blood flow velocities, up to 50 times faster and cheaper than similar methods in rodents. Moreover the CRACK IT award has helped to strengthen collaboration with complementary companies in the commercial chain, such as Noldus and Pivot Park Screening Centre, creating more stable and long-lasting partnerships, going beyond the Solution itself. Working with CRACK IT Solutions and the NC3Rs grants the Solution provider (ZeClinics) and collaborators with a very important brand for demonstrating our commitment to make real the potential of our technologies for refining, reducing and replacing (3Rs) animal use in the life sciences.
This is the reason why the CRACK IT program is not simply a funding opportunity but a real hub for innovation and partnering, helping companies to step up in their growth.