Pharmaceutical Research and High Technology Platforms in the Biohybrid Technology Field

In modern pharmaceutical research, knowledge of disease-relevant changes (genomics) at the molecular level is of fundamental importance. This leads to the characterization of endogenous factors or molecular targets, which can serve as a basis for novel and trend-setting drugs. One central discipline as a key in-house competence is cell- and tissue-based impedimetric HTS in the second generation of proteomics up to pharmacogenetics/-genomics. In contrast to conventional intracellular and extracellular recordings, bioimpedance measurements can also be carried out with electrophysiologically inactive cells. The steady increase in testing capacity (approximately 200 000 hits per day) demands new modules which could be integrated into robot technology and computerized analysis, as well as

3.1 The Potential of Drug Development and Demand on High-Content Screening Systems | 81

in automated evaluation methods. Cell-based biosensors can be used to test more than thousands of substances simultaneously, and to determine their influence on single cells, signaling pathways, and finally the intercellular interaction within a tissue. Bioelectronic cell-based assays are noninvasive and much more efficient than light-emitting, cell-based systems. The use of genomics, bioinformatics, combinatorial chemistry, and HTS methods in modern drug discovery leads to a permanently increasing number of compounds with pharmacological activity, with one of the most important reasons for failure in the development cycle often being appropriate pharmacokinetics and toxicity. Thus, the pharmaceutical industry is currently expressing great interest in screening the identified compounds early in the drug discovery cycle for pharmacokinetic parameters such as absorption, distribution, metabolism, penetration, and excretion. In this way, through secondary screening, the drop-out rate in the later - and more costly - stage of the development cycle can be reduced. Clearly, there is also a demand for measuring the physico-chemical, pharmacokinetic and pharmacotoxicity parameters under high-content or high-throughput conditions.

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