Multiplexing in action – hepatotoxicity testing of early phase drug compounds

Our blog

11 November, 2013

For those interested in learning more about the value of multiplexed experiments for generating deeper biological insight, check out our recent Drug Discovery Tutorial published in Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News (GEN) and a recent webinar posted on our website (

In the GEN article, we discuss the hepatotoxicity effects of three commercially available compounds on a liver cell line using an advanced multiplex assay. Different compounds produced different toxicity profiles for the four parameters of toxicity measured in this study suggesting that measuring just one of the parameters would not have revealed this. It was also shown that long term effects of the drug (assay incubated for 72 hours) highlighted cytotoxicity profiles different to that of short term treatments.  Such studies are essential in drug discovery, as unpredicted side-effects and toxicity issues can limit or prevent a candidate molecule being taken to market. If these tests are not carried out early, this information might only come to light very late in the development process, thereby incurring substantial time and cost factors for the companies involved.

The data presented highlight how the multiplex assay was able to simultaneously measure several important cell health markers, allowing the researchers to detect with greater confidence exactly which of the compounds would likely fail when tested on animal models, or perhaps even later during clinical trials. By enabling compounds to ‘fail early,’ significant savings can be made.

Further help with your multiplexed HCS assays

If you are looking to set up a multiplexed HCS assay and would like some advice please do get in touch. We have decades of experience in this area and would be delighted to assist you.