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£700k awarded for Phase 2 of 2021 CRACK IT Challenge 41 – SAFE

14 November 2022

aQuaTox-Solutions GmbH has been awarded funding to deliver the second phase of the SAFE CRACK IT Challenge.

CRACK IT Challenges is the NC3Rs open innovation funding competition which brings together industry, academia and SMEs to deliver ready-to-use products and services to replace, reduce and refine animal use. Challenges are developed in collaboration with Sponsors who provide in-kind contributions and/or co-funding to support development of the Challenge product. 

SAFE – innovative Safety Assessment of Fish adverse Effects

Environmental risk assessment (ERA) is used to evaluate how the exposure of chemical stressors may impact the environment. It is usually assessed across three trophic levels, including fish as the vertebrate species when in vivo testing is required. Global efforts towards the development of New Approach Methodologies (NAMs) aim to improve chemical hazard and risk assessment and reduce the reliance on in vivo studies, however these approaches may be limited to pathways that are known to be highly conserved across species. The Adverse Outcome Pathways framework, in combination with novel bioassays, could be used to fill data gaps and support the use of NAMs in ERA.

The aim of the SAFE Challenge is to develop a suite of innovative, scalable bioassays for key adverse outcome pathways to replace in vivo fish studies in chemical safety and screening and regulatory ERA. Phase 2 funding has been awarded to a team led by Dr Stephan Fischer, aQuaTox-Solutions GmbH, to deliver the project: Development of a modular, cell line-based framework for the animal-free prediction of chemical toxicity to fish.

This Challenge is sponsored by AstraZeneca, Bayer AG and Unilever, who will provide in-kind contributions to support the project, and is in partnership with DEFRA, the Health and Safety Executive and the Environment Agency. Co-funding is also provided by DEFRA and the Environment Agency.

Full information about this Challenge is available on the SAFE Challenge page.