Tech and Biotech: Madison’s InvivoSciences to work with Rhode Island company

InvivoSciences, a Madison biotech, is teaming with Myomics, of Providence, R.I., to provide screening services using their combined resources.

InvivoSciences provides engineered human heart tissues for companies working on drugs to treat heart disease while Myomics offers engineered muscle tissues to drug companies focused on fighting muscular dystrophy.

Both companies also have developed robotic systems used to examine the tissues in three-dimensional models. They say their systems can help predict the safety and effectiveness of drug compounds early on.

InvivoSciences had a lab in Waukesha but moved all of its operations to Madison, CEO Ayla Annac said.

The company has four employees, down from nine last year, and raised $4 million in grants and private funding since it was founded in 2001. Annac said InvivoSciences is trying to raise another $3 million to $5 million to expand to the global market.

InvivoSciences was named this week as one of three finalists in the category of science or medical analytic systems for the Edison Awards, honoring innovation in product and service development. The other finalists in that category are 3M and CardioDX.

Only one other Wisconsin company was named as a finalist in the competition: Johnson Controls of Glendale is a contender for the Edison Green Award.

InvivoSciences LLC is a 2012 Edison Awards Finalist

Wisconsin Company, InvivoSciences LLC (IVS), is honored to be chosen as a finalist alongside 3M and CardioDX in the highly competitive Medical Science-Analytic Systems category by Edison Awards. Other finalist include Abbott, Johnson and Johnson, Apple, The Dow Chemical, GE Health Care, The Proctor and Gamble Company. Winning an Edison Award has become one of the highest accolades a company can receive in the name of innovation and business. The Edison Awards, celebrating its 25th year, has announced its finalists for the internationally renowned 2012 Edison Best New Product Awards. Since 1987, The Edison Awards have recognized ideas at the forefront of new products, services, marketing, design and innovation.

“The Edison Awards provide an exclusive platform for honoring innovation, recognizing innovators, and encouraging ongoing innovation among today’s development teams, researchers, designers, ‘intrapreneurs’ and entrepreneurs,” says Thomas Stat, the 2012 Edison Awards Steering Committee Chairman. “We’re inspired by our 2012 finalists and delighted to have this opportunity to recognize and promote the outstanding accomplishments they represent.”

The awards are named after Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931) whose extraordinary new product development methods and innovative achievements garnered him 1,093 U.S. patents and made him a household name around the world. The ballot of nominees for the Edison Best New Product Awards™ is judged by a panel of more than 3,000 individuals, including members of the Marketing Executives Networking Group (MENG), an organization comprising America’s top marketing professionals and academics. The panel also includes professionals from the fields of product development & design, engineering, science and education.

Dr. Elliot Elson and Dr. Tetsuro Wakatsuki shared their excitement in recognition of their invention and their work in the areas of tissue engineering and pharmaceutical screening. NIH funded development of the novel platform technology. When Ayla Annac, CEO of IVS, was asked how she felt about being an Edison Award finalist, she stated that, “We are honored to be one of the finalists in our category. InvivoSciences will continue to contribute to the improvement of human health by establishing a new paradigm for discovering drugs that focus on diseases with limited treatment options such as cardiac fibrosis, scleroderma, and lupus in a time-effective manner while remaining safe and cost effective.”

The 2012 Edison Awards are sponsored by Nielsen, Discovery Communications, Science Channel, USA Today, CSRware and Applepeak. For more information about the Edison Awards click here.

InvivoSciences LLC, established in 2001, creates, manufactures and markets tools for three dimensional (3D) cell culture systems and provides compound screening services with them. Palpator ™ is a robotic mechanical profiler for ultra-soft materials, such as biological tissues and engineered tissue constructs of various types including human engineered heart tissues. The tissue culture tools developed by IVS, MicroChamber- 8TM (MC-8 ™) and IVS Inserts™, enable fabrication, growth, assay and storage of engineered tissue constructs without removing them from wells. With a mechanical conditioning device, Tissue Stretcher™, tissue constructs can be cultured under repetitive mechanical stimuli. IVS has been successfully providing contract research services to identify lead compounds and novel product benefits for pharmaceutical, cosmetic, biotech, food, and chemical companies. For more information, please visit www.invivosciences.com

InvivoSciences® and Myomics Announce Partnership

InvivoSciences, LLC (IVS) and Myomics, Inc. (Providence, RI) announce a corporate partnership to provide high content compound screening services using 3D engineered tissue. Both Myomics and IVS have pioneered and perfected their technologies to mass-produce and assay miniaturized engineered human and animal tissues in standardized 96- and 384- well formats. Using their combined rich portfolio of technologies, the companies profile compounds that improve or impair physiology of tissues, including skeletal muscle, cardiac muscle and connective tissues, by automatically measuring their mechanical, contractile, and biological properties. In addition, these technologies provide comprehensive toxicity assessment of compounds. We offer a unique competitive advantage for our customers to develop products based on the best available physiological information for new drug discovery and product development for human and animal applications. The mission of both companies is to improve human health by enabling discovery and development of new therapeutics, with a focus on diseases with limited treatment options such as muscular dystrophy, scleroderma, lupus, and cardiac fibrosis.

“We’re pleased to combine the strength of our synergistic technologies, developed independently to satisfy the increased demand for compound screening systems that can predict a drug candidate’s actions on human tissues”, said Ayla Annac, co-founder and CEO of IVS.

Herman Vandenburgh, cofounder and CEO of Myomics agreed: “We believe that the services that we provide based on this partnership will have a profound positive impact on drug discovery by predicting efficacy and safety of compounds in the early stage of drug development using complex human tissue models. This will result in reduced late-stage attrition.”

About InvivoSciences, LLC: InvivoSciences, LLC, established in 2001, creates, manufactures and markets tools for three dimensional (3D) cell culture systems and provides compound screening services with them. Palpator TM is a robotic mechanical profiler for ultra-soft materials, such as biological tissues and engineered tissue constructs of various types including human engineered heart tissues. The tissue culture tools developed by IVS, MicroChamber- 8 TM (MC-8 TM) and IVS InsertsTM , enable fabrication, growth, assay and storage of engineered tissue constructs without removing them from wells. With a mechanical conditioning device, Tissue StretcherTM, tissue constructs can be cultured under repetitive mechanical stimuli. IVS has been successfully providing contract research services to identify lead compounds and novel product benefits for pharmaceutical, cosmetic, biotech, food, and chemical companies. www.invivosciences.com

About Myomics, Inc.: Myomics, Inc. was incorporated in Rhode Island in 2003. The company’s robotic MyoForce Analysis System™ (MFAS™) uses contractile three-dimensional human or mouse skeletal muscle, cardiac muscle, and smooth muscle tissue analogs to rapidly screen drugs in vitro for modified muscle strength, altered fatigue rates, and contraction-induced injury prevention. The company’s core technology (drug screening using three dimensional contractile skeletal muscle-based platforms) has been successfully implemented to provide compound screening services for pharmaceutical companies including Novartis Pharma AG and Pfizer, as well as numerous academic centers, and not-for-profit foundations. Several positive hits are currently in clinical trials. www.myomics.com