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Genentech Acquires Herophilus' Next-Generation Drug Discovery Platform

Written by : Nikita Saha

September 12, 2023

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Herophilus revealed that the next-generation organoid-based platform comprises the Orchard„¢, Orchestra„¢, and OrCA„¢ technologies. However, the company will further continue to advance its existing neurotherapeutic research programs to cure complex brain diseases.

Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, has acquired Herophilus' proprietary high-throughput human organoid-based drug discovery platform.

Herophilus further revealed that this organoid-based platform comprises the Orchard„¢, Orchestra„¢, and OrCA„¢ technologies.

While this acquisition marks a substantial milestone, Herophilus will continue to advance its existing neurotherapeutic research programs which is in line with its mission to discover neurotherapeutics to cure complex brain diseases.

Saul Kato, CEO and cofounder of Herophilus, said, 'œSince our founding in 2017, Herophilus's vision has been to leverage the parallel revolutions in human complex in vitro brain models, scaled laboratory automation, and scientific machine learning to break the decades-long logjam in neuroscientific drug discovery. We are thrilled that Genentech will combine Herophilus' platform with its exceptional drug development ability and experience to accelerate this vision.'

Reports state that in this transaction, the US-based Genentech and Roche research and development units gain access to Herophilus' comprehensive discovery platform, encompassing three vital components:

Orchestra: This is a comprehensive hybrid-cloud enterprise-scale software system designed for instrument and automation control, experiment tracking, provenant data and metadata management, high-performance microscopy imaging and video data visualisation and exploration, data annotation and rapid machine learning pipeline development

OrCA: It is a Modular Organoid Culture and Assay scaled experimental system, which comprises of five specialised workcells and a library of optimised biology protocols for low-variability, tuned organoid culture and high-content, high-throughput phenotypic assays

Orchard: This component offers a protocol library for high-quality reprogramming and genetic engineering of organoid-optimised stem cell lines. Additionally, it provides access to a diversified neurological disease patient stem cell biobank

In April this year, Genentech collaborated with the University of Washington, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), PicnicHealth and Cleveland Clinic to assist in its initiative of improving brain health outcomes.

Moreover, the partnership aimed to realise the full value of innovation to reduce the burden of diseases and improve lives. Genentech primarily focuses on research and development in the field of neuroscience to develop new treatments helping people with chronic and potentially devastating diseases.


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