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Posted on   March 8, 2019  

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February 2019. Rome, Italy. The Eternal City astonishes with its beauty and magnificence, where one year in our lives seems like a blink of the eye. Whilst saying that, in 2018, ocular Contract Research Organization Experimentica Ltd. had some important happenings which laid down the grounds for further expansion and growth of the company in 2019 and beyond.

January 2018. The company received a Young Innovative Company award, amounting to €250.000, from Business Finland (a branch of the Finnish Ministry of Employment and Economy), the country’s most important public funding agency. This backing was aimed at our company’s expansion into the Asian market. In the first instance, we will focus on China, but will expand soon to cover the rest of Asia. We have recently opened an office, at the Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park, Shanghai and more news will follow from that location in the upcoming months.

August 2018. Contract Research Organization Experimentica founded a new R&D site in Vilnius, Lithuania. The competitive SMART FDI award, as well as our own investment, totalling €1.6 M, will enable the development and validation of completely novel preclinical models in the ocular medicine field.

At the same time, it marks an expansion of our portfolio into larger animal models. As a result of this, in 2019, we will present results from our first R&D projects on rabbits aimed at dry eye as well as choroidal neovascularization and vascular leakage models.

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A rat choroidal neovascularization (CNV) model.
A rat choroidal neovascularization (CNV) model. Serial in vivo imaging using Spectral Domain Optical Coherence Tomography (SD-OCT) of the same photo-ablated spot in the rat eye prior to (baseline), and after the laser beam administration (Day 0, and at 6 days, 11 days, 14 days and 21 days). Individual ablated spots are marked with a different color (yellow, blue, red and green). ONH = optic nerve head.

Since its foundation in 2013, our company has invested into and employed the most advanced methods of in vivo imaging in the preclinical ophthalmic field. Examples of these were highlighted in our article, published in The Journal of Visualized Experiments, on the multimodal imaging techniques, as used on a mouse model of choroidal neovascularization.

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Fluorescein angiography in the mouse eye.

In 2018 our R&D team continued exploring the use of state-of-the art technologies in other preclinical ophthalmic retinopathy models, such as those for diabetes and prematurity.

A more detailed scientific report will be presented at the end of March 2019, where we will showcase fundus fluorescein angiography and spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) in a rat oxygen-induced retinopathy model.

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Fluorescein angiography at post-natal day 20 (P20) from the rat Oxygen-Induced Retinopathy (OIR) model.
Fluorescein angiography at post-natal day 20 (P20) from the rat Oxygen-Induced Retinopathy (OIR) model. An image is taken from the periphery of the eye. Red arrows point to abnormal growth in the retinal vasculature. Rat OIR model mimics the human condition of retinopathy of prematurity. Follow us for a more detailed report on the versatility of this model, at different timepoints, after exposure to hyperoxia.

This spring, we will examine the usefulness of optical coherence angiography in a streptozotocin-induced rat model of diabetic retinopathy. Will we be able to visualize subtle changes in retinal vasculature, using the latest advanced in vivo imaging technology? Soon we will find it out and will share our experience with you.

Lastly, I am delighted to inform you about the acceptance of our scientific paper on a murine dry-eye disease model in the journal of Ocular Surface. The article will feature an in vitro model of human corneal epithelial cells, in order to test corneal permeability, cell viability and cellular stress during dry-eye disease as well as an in vivo model of dry-eye disease, using scopolamine in combination with a desiccating chamber.

Stay tuned for further news from Experimentica’s team in 2019!

 

Giedrius Kalesnykas
President and Chief Executive Officer
Experimentica Ltd.

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