Pharmaceutical Toxicology examined in cooperation with SciLifeLab

Björn Glinghammar, specialist in Pharmaceutical Toxicology at Swetox.

Since January 1, 2016 Swetox has a cooperation with the platform for Drug Discovery and Development at SciLifeLab (DDD) at Karolinska Institutet in Solna. Swetox is responsible for “Safety assessment”, i.e. the toxicological evaluation of drug projects.

The person responsible for the work at Swetox is Björn Glinghammar, a molecular toxicologist who has specialized in drug toxicology, first for twelve years at AstraZeneca, then as a specialist at Swetox.

It is mainly enzymes, receptors or other proteins (so-called targets) one strives to affect the expression or activity of. Björn’s task is to review the literature on the targets regarding drugs concerns, by searching various databases (toxicity, biochemistry, gene analysis, expression, medicine, regulatory questions) and of course the publication database PubMed.  Currently, DDD supports 18 research projects evenly distributed between small molecule- and antibody drugs.

Great potential with the right opportunities

When  drug projects develop, the chemical toxicity of small molecules has to be investigated. At Swetox it is possible to investigate the potential toxicity of this chemical toxicity using computational toxicology (in silico) models and cell studies (in vitro).

This way you can “screen” until molecules that lack the ability to react with other proteins or interfere with vital processes in the cell. Similarly, Swetox also has expertise in immunotoxicology and a variety of methods to study the effects on the immune system of antibodies but also small molecules.

Furthermore, Swetox provides a well-functioning and well-equipped in-vivo animal house facility with and associated pathology laboratory. This lab can offer exploratory studies to DDD scientists, but also the necessary toxicity studies carried out according to GLP (Good Laboratory Practice). For a drug to be authorized by the Swedish Medical Agency to allow tests in humans, it has to be demonstrated  that no serious toxicities occur in two different species with sufficient margin to the intended dose for human subjects.

Björns service is localized to Swetox and not SciLife Lab. This was a strategic decision on cooperation with DDD, because Swetox provides the critical mass of toxicologists to interact with, and the methodology focused on solving toxicological problems and issues.