An adaptable modular, high-throughput drug screening technology that can be applied to numerous disease models. It is currently being used in high-throughput/ content screens in drug discovery for muscular dystrophies.

Key benefits

The transparency and small size of zebrafish larvae makes them ideal for toxicology, drug and genetic screens. 84% of human disease genes have a direct counterpart in zebrafish. ‘Tank-to-bedside’ is a reality with novel drugs identified and taken into the clinic within short time frames from discovery.

Monash University researchers at the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute (ARMI), in collaboration with the Department of Engineering and Monash Micro Imaging, have developed a lab on a chip (LOC) high throughput screening (HTS) platform for phenotyping and drug screening in 3D. We have employed microfluidics, 3D manufacturing and imaging to develop a modular LOC platform. We have initially focused on using the platform for phenotyping and drug screening of neural injury and dystrophic muscle models in zebrafish.

The proposed LOC HTS platform bridges an important gap in current HTS technologies. Virtually all screening uses a 2D in vitro approach; however, organs and organisms are complex 3D structures.

The platform will accelerate phenotyping and drug discovery in 3D; there is even scope for real-time applications. We are ultimately developing the first HTS high-content approach to drug discovery.

Potential applications

Optical transparency and fluorescent fish reporter lines allow for 3D, high-content and high throughput screensAbility to screen 2000+ drug candidates per week with a single tank containing 20 fish

  • The system exacerbates underlying pathology therefore maximizing the potential signal from any given screen
  • Increased reliability and reproducibility due to more accurate delivery of electronic pulses or mechanical spinal cord lesion
  • Overcomes bottlenecks in assessing market-ready drugs as therapies

The opportunity

The Monash team now has a working prototype device and is seeking to partner with the pharmaceutical industry to further develop and validate the platform across various indications.

This is an opportunity to work in the regenerative medicine space to mature and shape what will become one of the most important pre-screening tools for small molecules in future therapeutic discovery pipelines.

Our interdisciplinary team already comprises of scientists, engineers, and imaging specialists with close ties to the Small Technologies Cluster (STC). We are seeking expertise on small compounds including access to and knowledge of compound libraries. The opportunity is the adaptability of the system to test therapeutics over a range of disease models.

Researcher and technical details

Peter Currie

Contact for this technology

Dr Darcelle Thompson
Senior Business Development Associate Medicine, Nursing & HealthSciences, Monash University
+61 3 9905 8246

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