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Cutting Edge Conversation: Challenges in Sourcing Human Biosamples

Maria m headshot Maria Menikou on October 25, 2021



On October 20, Scientist.com and speakers from AnaBios, Discovery Life Sciences and BioIVT participated in an episode of the Cutting Edge Conversations series focused on innovations in the area of sourcing human biosamples for research. The event began with an introduction from Scientist.com’s subject matter expert, Maria Menikou. Menikou provided a brief history of sourcing human samples for research, including the value and necessity of working with human tissue during drug discovery, then outlined some of the distinct challenges researchers face before introducing the panelists.


The first presentor was Richard Kondo from AnaBios.

With a research background in cardiovascular pathophysiology and electrophysiology, Dr. Richard Kondo has published 12 peer-reviewed academic publications on the mechanisms of cardiac ischemia and arrhythmias. He is currently Director of Business Development at AnaBios, where he cultivates relationships with pharma and biotech companies that partner with AnaBios to assess compounds in the areas of pain, neuroscience, respiratory disease, heart failure and cardiac safety. Prior to joining AnaBios, Dr. Kondo was North American sales manager for Sophion Biosciences, managing sales for automated patch clamp technology for ion channel drug discovery. He received his PhD in Cellular Biophysics from Boston University.

During his presentation, Dr. Kondo explained how AnaBios’ advanced human tissue-based methods enable a unique approach that integrates data from human ex vivo studies with client preclinical animal data. The company has developed the ability to test the potential efficacy and safety of new drug compounds in human tissues well in advance of clinical trials. This is made possible by their extensive network of partnering U.S. hospitals, the utilization of proprietary tissue preservation methods and lab-based study and assessment of drug effects on the human tissues and isolated cells. From hospital room to laboratory, AnaBios maintains full oversight of the recovery process and utilization of human tissues to guarantee consistency in tissue viability. For client molecular work, AnaBios makes available tissue samples and cells from these organs. Dr. Kondo described how their unique approach to recovering human organs from ethically-consented donors provides a human focused platform for novel target discovery and drug assessment.


Next was McLean Collins, the Senior Vice President of Global Accounts at Discovery Life Sciences.

McLean Collins has extensively supported Discovery’s Life Sciences’ FFPE samples and histopathology services over his 9 year career with the company. Intimately involved with product development, product management, quality assurance and strategic sales, McLean is Discovery’s foremost expert on Discovery’s FFPE capabilities and how to best utilize them to support discovery, translational and clinical research projects for biopharma companies of all sizes.

Discovery Life Sciences knows that quality, relevant biospecimens are critical for the generation of accurate data to inform precision oncology programs. In order to select reliable biospecimen cohorts that meet their study’s specifications, scientists can benefit from access to genomic biomarker, histopathologic and quality control annotations. These data are crucial to help precision oncology researchers select optimal biospecimens for their unique research needs. McLean shared how board-certified pathologists and genomic biomarker experts annotate thousands of FFPE tissues to streamline cohort selection for precision oncology studies. He discussed how HudsonAlpha Discovery’s custom nucleic acid extraction and isolation services yield high quality RNA, even from archival FFPE and how robust NGS services provide a wealth of clinically relevant biomarker data including emerging immuno-oncology biomarkers such as TMB and MSI.


And finally, Cathie G. Miller, the Senior Director of Product Marketing for Personalized Medicine at BioIVT

After beginning her research career at the University of Michigan, Cathie received her Ph.D. at the University of Louisville School of Medicine before completing her post-doctoral fellowship at the Wistar Institute and the University of Pennsylvania. With a career that spans over 20 years at the bench, as well as a Director and a Global Product Manager, all involving the use of biospecimens in the fields of cancer, immunology and virology, Cathie is now Senior Director of Product Marketing, Personalized Medicine, at BioIVT.

BioIVT is a leading global provider of research models and value-added research services for drug discovery and development. They specialize in control and disease-state biospecimens including human and animal tissues, cell products, blood and other biofluids. Their portfolio of clinical specimens directly supports precision medicine research and the effort to improve patient outcomes by coupling comprehensive clinical data with donor samples. Cathie shared how BioIVT’s new self-service inventory search can be utilized by researchers to find samples and accelerate drug discovery for personalized medicine. BioIVT’s portal allows users to search available inventory, then refine and export results.


Learn more about the innovations and services offered by AnaBios, Discovery Life Sciences and BioIVT from the webinar recording.
You can also view the presentation slides here.