Sharing LUXCEL BIOSCIENCES experience
CEO Dr Richard Fernandes
The company was founded in Cork in 2002 as a spin-out and has developed a novel cell respirometric screening (CRS) technology for cell based high throughput drug screening (HTS) and several related applications, of particular interest to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and organisations involved in healthcare diagnostics. The company is now valued in excess of $20m.
The underlying porphyrin-based phosphorescent probes were developed by Prof Dimitri Papkovsky in University College Cork, Department of Biochemistry, the current non-executive CSO of Luxcel. This mediates access to UCC based technology resources, but the company under Dr. Fernandes has grown and attracted external investment. The company now offers biological oxygen consumption products, including MitoXpress, a plate reader based O2 sensing assay; and IC60N, a live cell imaging-based O2 sensing assay for single cell analysis. It also provides extracellular acidification products, such as pH-Xtra probe to measure pH changes; and environmental toxicology products, which include RST, an assay that measures the respiration rates and measures toxicological changes in small organisms via changes in their oxygen respiration. In addition, the company offers food safety products, including Redlight, an assay that provides rapid total viable counts of food samples by measuring bacterial oxygen consumption and equating consumption rate to microbial load.
Luxcel developed a collaboration with Pfizer, the world’s largest pharmaceutical company, to help establish and validate Luxcel technology for drug screening. Pfizer’s interest in this partnership involved a desire to reduce attrition of late-stage compounds or even drugs on the market, by identifying deleterious mitochondrial responses earlier in development. The Luxcel system proved well suited to this, with sufficient sensitivity, reproducibility, relative simplicity and high throughput capacity.
Facts & Figures
In 2010, Mocon Inc invested ~ $3.6 million for a 16.9 percent equity interest in Luxcel Biosciences. Mocon is a US company that designs, manufactures and sells products for gas detection, measurement and analysis. MOCON products are used in R&D, production/ manufacturing and quality As part of its initial post-investment activity, Mocon will dedicate R&D to a project to help bring a high-throughput pathogen (eg Listeria, Salmonella, E. coli) screening process to the meat, poultry, seafood, produce and dairy industries.
Address: Luxcel Biosciences Ltd, BioInnovation Centre,UCC, Cork, Ireland. www.luxcel.com