Therapeutic area expertise

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When you’re expediting drug discoveries from bench to clinic, you need expert partners who know your field. From our academic origins in Therapeutic Immunology, we have extended our in-depth expertise in immunology, immuno-oncology and neuroscience research and development, helping our clients progress some of the most cutting-edge and effective therapies. 

We provide a range of services to screen drug candidates and confirm the mechanism of action (MoA), including:  

  • Multi-disciplinary teams of scientists with expertise in your therapeutic area. 
  • Tailored assay design that interrogates your critical questions.
  • Comprehensive data packages along with the insightful interpretation that drives intelligent decision-making.

We consider even the smallest details so you can make the big decisions. 

The challenge

As researchers break ground with new therapeutics for diseases which are difficult to treat, they stretch the possibilities of techniques, technology and knowledge. To ensure safety and efficacy in an evolving landscape, and assure stakeholders that investments are channeled to the most promising candidates, data packages are becoming more complex. 

For these novel therapies, off-the-shelf assays and automated data readouts don’t provide the insight needed. Accurately defining the questions can be tough enough and even when the optimal assays are run, the data outputs require skilled interpretation so that meaningful decisions can be made. 

The solution

Drug development teams across the world are relying on our expertise in key therapeutic areas to help drive drug discovery, fast-track development pipelines and provide the necessary data packages for regulatory approval. 

We don’t just run a suite of standard assays. We help you:

  • Define the true aim of the analysis
  • Design tailored suites of assays that answer the key questions
  • Deliver detailed data to define key drug parameters
  • Interpret data to reveal the meaning behind each value
  • Help inform constructive decision-making for the drug development pathway

For small molecule programs, we work with our specialists in DMPK and medicinal chemistry to deliver connected science, whatever your project.

Concept Life Sciences Biology Services Virtual Tour

Take a glimpse into our world! Join us for a short walkthrough of our translational biology services site in Edinburgh, UK. 

Meet our brilliant scientists as they introduce you to our state-of-the-art facilities, and explain how our capabilities and expertise – with an emphasis on neuroscience and neurodegeneration, histology, immunology and immuno-oncology - can accelerate your drug discovery and development workflow.

Immunology and immuno-oncology

Immunology is so fundamental to human health that it touches nearly all therapeutic areas. Although immunology assays are often required in drug discovery and development, this is anything but a standard process and interpreting the outputs can be difficult.

Our immunology team can build assays that help define the MoA of your drug compound, including its interactions with targets and immunomodulatory effects, whether that be suppression for autoimmune therapies or induction for cancer therapies.

We’ll give detailed advice on the cell types required and the types of culture needed to compile a trusted and comprehensive data package. Once we’ve gathered the results, we’ll show the effect of the drug on the immune system within the context of the disease, the drug and the immune system so you can accurately assess the drug compound’s safety and efficacy. 

Our assays include:

  • Mixed lymphocyte reactions (MLRs)
  • Peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) and T cell stimulation 
  • Exhausted T cell 
  • Immune-mediated tumor cell killing 
  • T cell suppression 
  • T cell polarization (Treg, Th1, Th17)
  • Phagocytosis 
  • Myeloid cell (including macrophage polarization)
  • Natural killer cell activation
  • Bespoke in vivo models

For more details, visit our immunology page.

Neuroscience

Our experienced neuroscience team has strong academic links, supporting many research projects into neuroinflammation and its links to diseases of the central nervous system (CNS) such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Neurodegenerative diseases are characterized by neuronal damage, degradation of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and failures in brain repair mechanisms. Many of the most promising areas of drug development in this field target two key processes in which we specialize: neuroinflammation and remyelination. Whilst microglia and astrocytes are key to neuroinflammation, oligodendrocytes are responsible for remyelination. We provide a wide range of in vivo and ex vivo assays with access to primary cells, cell lines and brain slices that express endogenous targets. 

Through our experience and extensive neuroscience knowledge, our assays are used for drug testing, functional assessment, MoA and toxicology studies and include: 

  • Microglia and astrocyte polarization
  • Microglial phagocytosis
  • Oligodendrocyte precursor cell proliferation, differentiation and maturation
  • Neuronal viability, neurite outgrowth and synapse maturation
  • Organotypic brain slice models, including inflammasome activation and remyelination
  • Custom assays in PNS and CNS glia and neurons maintained in mono or co-culture

We can also develop customs assays to answer your key questions including assays utilizing human CNS-induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC). 

For more details, visit our neuroscience page.

Oncology

Cancer is a multi-faceted disease, highly proficient at immunosuppression but also having other hallmarks that make it susceptible to targeted therapeutic approaches. Our specialized assays and programs use a detailed understanding of the driver mutations and tumor microenvironment to accurately model processes involved in cancer.

Our team has extensive experience of working with a wide range of cancer treatments, from small molecules and biologics through to alternative modalities such as ADCs and PROTACs.  We explore clinical efficacy using biomarker and histological analysis and investigate gene expression changes.

Our assays include: 

  • Tumour cell killing 
  • Cell cycle analysis
  • Human Tumour Ex Vivo Systems
  • Biomarker analysis 
  • Exhausted T cell 
  • Myeloid cell assays
  • Syngeneic in vivo tumour models

For more details, visit our immuno-oncology and oncology page.

As well as providing a broad range of services across immunology, immuno-oncology and neuroscience specialisms, we have additional expertise in these sub-specialty areas:

Specialty areas

As well as providing a broad range of services across immunology, immuno-oncology and neuroscience specialisms, we have additional expertise in these sub-specialty areas:

Fibrosis 

Fibrosis in major organs is a leading cause of death, usually instigated through injury. When myofibroblasts proliferate and drive high levels of inflammation and immune cell activation, the irreversible damage of fibrosis can soon follow.  New therapies for this progressive and life-threatening disease are desperately needed and to develop them, we need a range of assays to look at the multifaceted processes involved.

Our team has designed assays and assessed many novel therapies across a range of tissue types. 

Our assays include:

  • Target validation MoA studies
  • In vitro screening/testing
    • Macrophage polarisation
    • Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) 
    • Wound healing (scratch assay)
    • Collagen contraction assay
  • Biomarker analysis 
  • Tissue exposure and histology

Visit our immunology page for more details. 

Atopic dermatitis and psoriasis

Atopic dermatitis and psoriasis are common conditions affecting hundreds of millions of people across the world. Although we are starting to understand the autoimmune triggers behind these skin conditions, and effective treatments are now available, we still have a way to go to prevent or cure them. 

As more therapeutic research is targeted in this area, our team supports some of the leading drug developers working in this field. Our assays help to establish efficacy early in development and provide the data packages needed to progress drugs through the pipeline. 

  • T cell polarization (Th1, Th17, Treg)
  • Histological analysis
  • Keratinocyte proliferation and migration
  • Keratinocyte cytokine production and gene expression

We can also source human primary keratinocytes from healthy and diseased patients.

Visit our immunology page for more details. 

Multiple sclerosis

Marked by unknown causes and unpredictable progression and outcomes, the fight to understand and prevent multiple sclerosis (MS) is a challenging and difficult one.  

Our neuroscience and immunology teams combine to provide the most advanced and tailored assays for the investigation of new drug therapies for MS: 

  • Microglial/astrocyte activation and polarization
  • Microglial phagocytosis and migration
  • Oligodendrocyte differentiation
  • Inflammasome activation
  • Experimental autoimmune-induced encephalomyelitis (EAE) 
  • Post-mortem human MS tissue to validate target expression

Visit our immunology or neuroscience pages for more details. 

Expedite your drug discovery

Contact our team  to discover tailored assays and expert-driven insight.