Pierre Fabre to study the use of biosensor chips in drug development


Links up with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, which developed the chips

French pharmaceutical company Pierre Fabre Médicament (PFM) and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) are to work together on the use of biosensor chips developed by the EPFL in clinical studies conducted by PFM.

The biosensor chips are able to assess the homeostasis of individuals (pH, temperature, blood glucose level, etc.) and measure more accurately than traditional methods the concentration in the body of an active agent coming from an administered drug.

These chips have many applications during the development of a new molecule:

  • In the early stage of a molecule's development, biosensor chips will allow scientists to find out faster whether or not it might worthwhile to continue the study, which will increase the chances of the project's success later on.
  • In the clinical development stage, the precise measurement of the concentration of active agents administered will make it possible to analyse, almost in real time, the therapeutic effect and tolerability of the drug.
  • Once a drug is marketed, this new technology could also make it easier to monitor treatment progress and adherence for specific diseases, expensive treatments or drugs with low therapeutic range.

The collaboration between the R&D teams began with a feasibility study on the use of biosensor chips in the development of a molecule, currently in proof-of-concept clinical trials (Phase II) for the treatment of schizophrenia (F17464). This multinational trial is being conducted over a six-week period on 142 patients in several European countries. The main results of the study are expected to be published in the second quarter of 2016.

'Through this original collaboration with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, our R&D takes a resolute turn toward new information technologies applied to drug development,' said Dr Lawrence Audoly, Research and Development Director at Pierre Fabre Médicament.

'The use of biosensor chips in clinical studies is an innovative project whose success would boost the development of effective and safe new molecules for patients.'

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Dr Sandro Carrara, Professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, said: 'Knowing precisely and in real time the effect of drugs on the body is critical to personalised medicine and the accuracy expected in tomorrow's world. Biosensor chips bring to the research teams of Pierre Fabre Médicament a unique and reliable solution to measure with extreme accuracy data that are critical to our understanding of the effects of a drug candidate.'