Drug Discovery

3D cell-based assays in drug discovery

The drug discovery process is known to be very complex, lengthy and expensive: developing a new drug usually takes over 10 years and can often cost as much as £500 million due to the high failure rate of drug candidates in phase I, II and III clinical trials. At the early stages in this process, standard biochemical assays are traditionally employed for screening of a large number of compounds, followed by cell-based assays and animal studies. Cell-based assays are usually carried out in flat-bottom, multi-well tissue culture plates, i.e. in “2D”. Albeit these assays are cheap and easy to set up, they are a rather poor approximation of tissue in living organisms and hence frequently lead to false results, which can be very costly if discovered at a later stage.

3D cell-based assays can be used to test efficacy of a drug (e.g. using a cancer model), or reveal potential toxicity issues (e.g. using a hepatocyte culture) by providing a more in vivo-like environment and thereby data, which is more predictive of behaviour in the clinic.


Mimetix benefits in 3D cell-based assays

  • True 3D environment

  • High batch-to-batch consistency for reproducible cell-based assays

  • Ready-to-use, sterile, standard-size plates are compatible with industry-standard automated handling and imaging equipment

  • Minimal protocol adaption required to switch from 2D to 3D

  • Material does not degrade or alter over the course of an experiment

  • Thin scaffold provides benefits of 3D cell morphology and behaviour, yet allows microscopic imaging


Drug discovery case studies with the Mimetix scaffold

Human upcyte Hepatocytes in Mimetix

Human upcyte Hepatocytes in Mimetix

Human upcyte® Hepatocytes - Quality meets Quantity: Currently, only a few primary cell types are commercially available, and their poor proliferative ...

3D culture of human epithelial breast cancer cells

3D culture of human epithelial breast cancer cells

Background: There is significant need for more predictive in vitro efficacy and toxicity assays to reduce both the number of costly drug failures in clinical trials and the number of animals ...