Animal Welfare at Experimentica Ltd.

22 September 2017 in In Vivo

Experimentica Ltd. is committed to following the highest ethical standards to ensure the welfare of animals used in research. We understand that animal research is paramount to developing and testing novel medicines for both humans and animals that are safe and effective.

All experimental protocols involving research animals have been reviewed and approved by National Animal Experiment Board (ELLA), the Finnish regulatory body and are in strict adherence with the published guidelines set forth in the ARVO Statement for the Use of Animals in Ophthalmic and Visual Research.  All research protocols and policies as well as our animal research facilities are reviewed and audited at regular intervals by the governing regulatory agencies.

At Experimentica Ltd., we comply with animal welfare law and the 3R principles: reduction, refinement and replacement of animal studies. These principles are deeply grounded in our Preclinical Development Pipeline, a business model, which offers our clients an opportunity to move their lead compounds from in vitro experiments to ex vivo and, ultimately, in vivo testing. At Experimentica’s Research & Development Division, led by Dr. Jenni Hakkarainen, we continuously strive to improve the predictability and translatability of our in vitro studies. Last year, we invested significantly in an expansion of our state-of-the-art in vitro laboratories and are engaged in extramurally-funded research programs, supported among other by the European Union, to develop novel in vitro assays that can provide novel alternatives to animal research. These include a novel cell culture-based model for an artificial cornea that may soon replace rabbit corneas for ex vivo permeability testing.

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We believe that investing in our research personnel contributes to animal welfare. Through providing training opportunities and maintaining a healthy work-life balance, we lower experimental variability, stress, and mistakes that can overall reduce the number animals used in research. Biostatistical analyses help us to reevaluate our power analyses to ensure that we use as many animals as needed, but always as few as possible.

One of our scientific strengths are in vivo longitudinal functional measurements utilizing both imaging modalities and electrophysiological techniques. Using state-of-the-art equipment, such as fluorescein angiography, optical coherence tomography and electroretinographic recordings allows us to follow the pathological progression at multiple time points in a single animal, reducing overall animal numbers by eliminating terminal endpoints that are often confounded by greater variability and post-mortem changes. In addition, we work closely with the manufacturers and vendors of scientific equipment on improving design, function, and handling of the equipment to maximize accuracy and minimize variability.

Refinement of animal experiments is an ongoing process. Our GLP-like documentation for all sponsored and in-house projects provides a wealth of information that we can utilize to refine experimental protocols. “Reliable animal research starts with animal welfare – many people underestimate the influence of animal welfare has on experimental variability and reproducibility”, says Dr. Satu Mering, Director Laboratory Animal Research at Experimentica Ltd., and member on both the National Experimental Animal Board and the National Committee of the Council on the Protection of Animals Used for Scientific or Educational purposes.

At Experimentica, we believe that animal welfare is a societal responsibility and that transparency is a key to increasing awareness and knowledge. We have prepared this page to openly share our commitment to animal welfare and the highest ethical standards in animal research. Whether you are one of our sponsors or clients, a private citizen or a public official, at Experimentica Ltd. we always appreciate your feedback, questions and concerns at animalwelfare@experimentica.com.