Pharma Focus Asia

Parallel Bio Introduces Novel Clinical Trial Methodology Using Organoids for Accelerated Drug Discovery

Friday, May 17, 2024

Parallel Bio, a pioneering biotech company focused on leveraging the immune system to combat diseases, has introduced its latest innovation: the Clinical Trial in a Dish. This revolutionary method enables the evaluation of the efficacy and safety of new immunotherapies using human models at the earliest stages of drug discovery, providing an alternative to animal testing. Notably, five pharmaceutical companies, including a Fortune 500 firm, have begun testing 20 drug candidates using this cutting-edge approach.

The Clinical Trial in a Dish technique creates human models using immune organoids, precisely scaled with robotics to accurately represent the biology and diversity of populations. This allows for a more precise and realistic assessment of potential drug candidates' safety and effectiveness compared to traditional animal models. In Parallel Bio's extensive testing of over 75 drugs, the results from its Clinical Trial in a Dish method have shown strong alignment with clinical data, both in terms of the fidelity of the immune response and the variability in individual drug efficacy across diverse patient backgrounds.

Juliana Hilliard, Parallel Bio's co-founder and chief scientific officer, stated, "By initiating drug development within human models from inception, our platform aims to save $1 billion and reduce the development timeline by 6.5 years for each candidate drug. Our ultimate goal is to flip the 95 percent failure rate observed in drug development to a 95 percent success rate, leading to the approval of more effective treatments for patients."

The average cost of developing a single drug is $2.8 billion over a decade, with nearly 95 percent of candidates failing during human trials despite promising results in animal studies.

The Clinical Trial in a Dish initiative marks Parallel Bio's first commercially available application of its revolutionary immune system platform, which utilizes lymph-node organoids at scale to replicate the intricacies of the human immune system across various populations. Organoids, also known as "mini organs," are three-dimensional, self-assembling models of human biology. They accurately mimic the structure and functionality of specific human body parts, offering insights into their response to diseases or treatments akin to individual patients.

By providing data and insights that are inherently human-relevant, platforms like Parallel Bio's mini immune system have the potential to revolutionize drug development and medical practices. In the realm of AI-driven drug discovery, organoid platforms play a pivotal role in bridging the gap by providing vast datasets of human biological responses essential for model training. Immune organoids, in particular, facilitate early detection of anti-drug antibody (ADA) responses, a common and costly impediment to promising drug candidates. Moreover, they hold immense promise in precisely modeling immunological disorders to unveil novel treatments and in the production of monoclonal antibodies within human immune systems, promising superior efficacy and fewer side effects compared to conventional monoclonal antibody manufacturing methods.



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