US firms Entelos and RegeneMed have released a new software platform, iToxFX, which they claim will help pharmaceutical companies quickly analyse a new drug’s potential safety profile.

The platform screens compounds more rapidly and cost-effectively than conventional animal studies and tests a large number of candidate drugs from one hepatocyte preparation to automatically generate comprehensive analysis reports for each drug.

Entelos vice-president of informatics Alan Roter said that iToxFX will enable firms with toxicogenomics expertise or a small research budget to identify likely mechanisms of toxicity much earlier in the development process, saving them time and money.

“In traditional toxicology (the science of applying gene expression profiling to understanding mechanisms of toxicity), adverse events and potential side effects are often discovered relatively late in drug development, making it a costly endeavour,” Roter said.

According to the company iToxFX, which uses Entelos’ DrugMatrix reference database based on over 18,000 vehicle and drug-treated animal tissue samples and cultures, can cut the time taken to analyse the toxicogenomic profile of drug-treated rat hepatocytes from weeks or months to within minutes.