Compugen Ltd of Tel Aviv, Israel, has discovered a novel combination of four biomarkers that can be used for the early detection of drug-induced nephrotoxicity. This biomarker signature may enable a much earlier prediction of drug-induced kidney toxicity during pre-clinical trials in rats than by traditional diagnostic methods such as histopathology or clinical chemistry.
“Improved pre-clinical biomarkers for kidney toxicity would dramatically reduce the time and costs required to prioritise and select lead candidates for progression through drug development stages,” said Anat Cohen-Dayag, Vice President of Diagnostic Biomarkers and Drug Targets.
The biomarkers were discovered by Compugen’s Nucleic Acid Testing Discovery Platform in a collaboration with Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.
Following the discovery of this four biomarker combination, it was experimentally tested in a blinded evaluation study in rats. The four biomarkers accurately picked out the nephrotoxic drugs, identifying the toxic effects within five days of exposure, compared with up to 28 days required for pathological damage to become visible, which is the traditional diagnostic method.
In addition, the biomarker combination successfully predicted the relative levels of toxicity of the compounds that were tested.
The collaboration agreement with Teva, announced in January 2007, granted Teva a license to use any markers discovered for internal research and development activities.
Compugen retains the commercialisation rights for licensing such markers to other companies, as well as rights for internal use, and plans to start licensing them in the first half of 2009.