Transforming Chemical Discovery and Development

February 3, 2020

To kick off a new year and decade, we assessed ScitoVation’s current and prospective positioning in the risk assessment community.  As part of that process, the leadership team reviewed our Vision and Mission statements. Allow me to share with you how we plan to live this mission guided by our long-term vision.

The assessment undertaken in this session, resulted in our new Vision and Mission Statements. 

Vision Statement: Transforming chemical discovery and development

Mission Statement: Pioneers in developing and implementing new approaches to enable safe and efficient use of chemicals

Our modern world presents a new normal where new alternative methods (NAMs) and computational technologies (e.g., use of genomic data, artificial intelligence) are available to rapidly assess chemical safety, speed product development and reduce downstream liabilities. ScitoVation has been fortunate to be a pioneer in developing some of these methods. Our promise to our clients is to continue to work on leading edge methods that will bring safe and effective chemicals to market faster. In fulfilling this commitment, we will go beyond simply conducting research to identify novel ways of assessing safety and efficacy. We plan to work with clients and other partners to help implement proven or promising novel methods and technology whether they have been developed by ScitoVation or others.

Achievement of our Vision is embedded in how we deliver on our Mission. Here is how our Mission translates into the work we are performing for clients:

  • In 2019, we launched a service called ScitoXpress where we use data from transcriptomic studies to determine the lowest dose at which bioactivity occurs and infer likely modes of action for a chemical. So far, this tool has been well received. I’m pleased to report that we have already used ScitoXpress to help clients with submission to regulatory bodies.
  • We launched the free version of a software tool called PLETHEM (Population Lifecourse Exposure to Health Effects Model) last year. To date, it has been downloaded by more than 2,500 users. We have developed customized versions of PLETHEM (PLETHEM Pro) to address specific attributes of clients’ chemistries (endpoints of interest or incorporating mode of action).
  • We are developing an in vitro-based cellular assay for lung toxicity. In recent years, there has been an increase in the request for animal studies involving respiratory organs that might be waived by using valid alternative in vitro test methods
  • We are developing more biologically relevant liver models for assessing toxicity in vitro. Unlike traditional in vitro liver monocultures, our assays include hepatocytes and other cell types from the liver (the non-parenchymal cells).

Achieving our mission requires that we collaborate with other stakeholders in the risk assessment community beyond our clients including government agencies (regulators), non-governmental organizations (advocacy groups) and toxicology consultants:

  • We have made outreach to regulators to conduct training in NAMs. We have either conducted training or are in talks to conduct trainings for four key agencies regulating chemicals in the US, Europe and Asia. Additionally, we recognize that government agencies will need to develop guidelines and protocols for the submission of evidence using NAMs. These guidelines and protocols are essential so that results from a company or third-party contract research organization (CRO) can be replicated, which will ultimately promote for public confidence in decision-making. To this end, we see a role to serve as a bridge between industry and government agencies. On this front, we are working with regulators in developing guidelines for the submission and application of PBPK models.
  • Non-governmental agencies: We have good working relationships with Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the Humane Society and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). With these NGOs, we collaborate in training and dissemination.
  • Consultant Toxicologists: Most companies—those either producing chemicals or using chemicals in products—even the largest ones rely on consultant toxicologists to assist them with regulatory submissions or with internal screening. We are seeking ways to engage and build partnerships with these consultants so that they are better equipped in advising their clients in the use of NAMs and their application in safety assessment of products.

I believe that ScitoVation can help bring safe and efficient chemicals to market faster by making better use of advanced science and technology. These changes will transform chemical discovery and development, and lead to healthier people and populations. I am excited to work with dedicated colleagues, clients and partners to bring this vision to fruition. Won’t you join us on this journey?