Preclinical to early stage drug discovery
Hooke Bio is a new R&D tools company operating in the preclinical to early stages of drug discovery. It draws its strength from the close co-operation it has between its biologists and engineers. The engineer’s design, patent and test new microfluidic technology: the scientists apply the technology to finding new therapeutics. Such an approach requires very high throughput automated testing at small volumes with relevant, translatable disease models. All pathogenic diseases will be considered. The recent discovery of induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs) makes this possible for the first time. The primary focus of Hooke Bio is on drug combinations; however the technology is highly adaptable and can be easily used in a variety of additional applications.
Developing a Strategy for Growth and Innovation:
There is an important unmet need for new medicines that can be mediated by the use of ultra-high-throughput microfluidic screening. High-throughput screening is required to screen vast numbers of drugs and drug combinations, as their effects on cells are difficult to predict. Hooke Bio developed the Enigma to tackle this problem. The HookBio platform (Enigma gen 0) was restricted by narrow field of view (FOV) of ca. 1×1.5mm, which limited the testing to one fluidics channel only.
Hooke Bio envisages expanding its range of tests to other cell lines and disease models and is also interested in personalised medicine. Taking samples of cells from patients and screening the relevant disease specific drugs against these samples. The high content screening and image analysis is a process that is going to grow in sophistication. The optics and software development will form part of an on-going collaboration between Hooke Bio and CAPPA in the future. CAPPA and Hooke Bio have also been recently successful in securing €1.9M in funding from the state through the highly competitive Disruptive Technology Innovation Fund.
Years in Business
CAPPA Technology Gateway and Hooke Bio partnership:
CAPPA has designed and prototyped a bespoke imaging system with a larger FOV (10x6mm) that allows investigation on multiplexed channels (8). Moreover, the expensive and potentially eye-hazardous 488nm laser was replaced with an LED based illumination solution. System was also integrated with a tailor made software solution.
“I would happily recommend CAPPA because of their very high levels of expertise. The system that we are developing is quite a high throughput system so not only did we need to have some bespoke optics designed we also needed some software to manage that process and also software to do the analysis. The great thing about coming to CAPPA and talking to the staff here is that it is a one stop shop for quite a broad variety of needs. CAPPA are very flexible and willing to engage with industry.”
Mark Lyons, CEO, Hooke Bio
The Technology Gateway Network delivers innovation expertise to industry across Ireland. It is run by Enterprise Ireland in partnership with the Institutes of Technology.
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