Lexington, KY – February 25, 2016 – Hera BioLabs, Inc. (Hera), a privately-held toxicology contract research organization (CRO), announces the licensing of the SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cell line, developed at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK).  Hera will apply its genome editing technologies to develop Precision Toxicology™ SH-SY5Y cell models and services. The new precisely engineered cell models will be used in neurotoxicity services and to study CNS disorders, including neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

In collaboration with researchers at the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), Hera has developed Precision Toxicology™ neurotoxicant reporter cell lines and neurotoxicity services.  96 genes expressed in neurons or their progenitors, were screened to identify genes that are most consistently upregulated upon exposure to a number of neurotoxicants.  The two best candidate genes identified were tagged: one with a dual luciferase reporter and another with a Beta Lactamase in SH-SY5Y cells reporter to create these Precision Toxicology™ neurotoxicant reporter cell lines.

The SH-SY5Y cells can be differentiated into mature neurons at a high efficiency, which increases their utility for screening. Hera will provide differentiated SH-SY5Y reporter cells directly to investigators for in-house discovery as well as contract researcher services utilizing the cells.

About Hera BioLabs, Inc.

Hera BioLabs, is a contract research organization (CRO) focused on the implementation of Precision Toxicology: Performing toxicology services with precisely gene-edited models to produce high-confidence, clinically-relevant data for your drug development program. The FDA and EPA are parties to TOX21 and as such are looking to modernize toxicology testing by encouraging less reliance on traditional animal models and the development of alternative models that are mechanism based, higher through-put and of greater clinical relevance. For example, Hera is working to develop better in vitro models of neurotoxicity, hepatotoxicity and off target hormonal effects with high throughput reporter cell lines. On the in vivo side, Hera is developing fully severe combined immunodeficient (SCID) rats for humanized liver and immune system development with applications hepatotoxicity, cancer xenograft (PDX models), DDI, and immunogenicity testing. Our mission is to use our genetic engineering expertise to provide innovative precision-toxicology™ models and services.