BIRMINGHAM, Ala.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--DiscoveryBioMed, Inc. (DBM, www.discoverybiomed.com) announces a new unit of its contract research organization (CRO) services business called Sentirix formed based upon our continuing 5-year collaboration with world-renowned, Philadelphia-based Monell Chemical Senses Center.
“The name, Sentirix, is derived from the Latin word sentire ‘to feel in a sensory way,’” explained Dr. Erik Schwiebert, Ph.D., CEO of DBM. “Our logo showcases the name and illustrates a taste bud with a tastant molecule binding to the pore of the taste bud.” A trademark application has been filed.
Sentirix aims to provide the most relevant model of human taste sensory pathways for the purpose of understanding taste sensation, characterizing taste profiles of pharmaceuticals and food ingredients, and identifying naturally-derived taste modulators. Specifically, Sentirix uses human taste bud epithelial cell (hTBEC) platform technologies developed by DBM from the prior patented work of Drs. Hakan Ozdener and Nancy Rawson at Monell. DBM has licensed the technology from Monell, while continuing to collaborate scientifically on the development of these niche human cell platform technologies.
Over time, DBM has optimized hTBEC technologies by multiple and different genetic methods, and has established specific cultures that are useful for investigating bitter, sweet, or salty taste pathways. DBM’s expertise in extracellular ATP signaling and in epithelial ion, solute and water transport physiology has also been of significant value to the development of specialty bioassays of and growth formats for hTBECs. “These primary and immortal hTBEC culture platforms are remarkably easy to grow, expand into larger numbers for medium-throughput screening, and respond functionally to many different types of taste stimuli,” explained Dr. Grace Salzer, Ph.D., Senior Scientist and Business Development Specialist at DBM. “We believe we have developed a technology that both the food, beverage, and flavor industry sectors and BioPharmaceutical drug developers will have significant interest in utilizing for multiple applications pertaining to taste.”
DBM has already established proof-of-concept that bitter-responsive hTBEC platforms can be used to discover, validate and profile bitter blockers, small molecules that mask the bitter taste of BioPharmaceutical medicines. Bitter taste blockers discovered in DBM hTBEC screens also blocked the taste of bitter medicines in a subset of human subjects. “This example demonstrates that what we are doing on the benchtop also works in the human mouth,” said Dr. John Streiff, Ph.D., DBM’s Chief Chemistry Officer.
DBM has developed the tools to create customizable cell lines and assays tuned to meet varying client needs. Cell lines can be derived from single donors or pooled donors. Assays are tuned to different taste modalities, and cell response can be measured by multiple indicators. Sentirix will operate as a unit within DBM in Birmingham, AL; and, future labs for human sensory studies and for formulation chemistry are envisioned. “This unit fits within our unique niche human CRO services offerings, and it has been a fruitful commercial-academic collaboration with Monell from the start,” declared Dr. Schwiebert.
About DiscoveryBioMed, Inc. is in its 13th year of operation as a life sciences and biotechnology company focused on leveraging normal and diseased human cell platform technologies for its CRO services business and for its R&D programs. DBM is located in Birmingham, AL where it is leading an effort to build a critical mass of biotechnology companies in a new hub of the Deep South.
The Monell Chemical Senses Center is an independent nonprofit basic research institute based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1968, Monell‘s mission is to improve health and well-being by advancing the scientific understanding of taste, smell, and related senses, where discoveries aid improving nutritional health, diagnosing and treating disease, addressing smell and taste loss, and digitizing chemosensory data.