MitoSciences announces that it has just been awarded $590,000 by the National Institutes of Health to support the development of companion diagnostic tests for antiviral drugs.

The award was made after competitive scientific review and was issued under The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The tests, developed in collaboration with the University of Oregon, allow clinicians to identify adverse effects from drugs used to treat HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, and other infectious diseases. Many of these drugs are known to cause toxic side effects, often due to inhibition of mitochondrial function. Mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cell and produce most of the energy needed to keep us alive. Given this critical role, drug-induced inhibition of mitochondrial function can cause a variety of serious physiological conditions. MitoSciences has demonstrated that its tests can identify drug toxicity early, often before outward signs of the conditions can be observed clinically.

The problem of mitochondrial toxicity is now sufficiently well-recognized that the FDA recently released recommendations that all new antiviral drug candidates should be screened for toxicity to mitochondria. MitoSciences’ tests have been used by multiple antiviral drug developers in their FDA submissions.

"Drug-induced mitochondrial toxicity is a problem that is receiving growing recognition," said Jean-Paul Audette, CEO of MitoSciences. "A number of drugs that were removed from the market are now known to inhibit mitochondrial function, and we are working with groups at most of the world’s largest drug companies to help them include mitochondrial toxicity screening earlier in their safety assessment programs."

MitoSciences has developed the MitoTox™ line of assays, which is the most complete set of solutions for identifying adverse mitochondrial effects caused by a wide range of therapeutic compounds. The MitoTox™ line of assays is offered both as kits and also as a service through MitoSciences’ CRO division. MitoSciences is also working to validate several of the MitoTox™ assays for use in clinical applications, such as companion diagnostics, and in this effort is collaborating with leading clinical researchers in multiple countries.

Source: MitoSciences