Translational quantitative systems toxicology to improve the understanding of the safety of medicines


When developing a new medicine, determining whether or not it will be safe for patients to take remains a challenge, and adverse drug reactions (ADRs) remain a major issue for clinicians. Of particular concern is damage to vital organs such as the liver, kidney, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal systems. The TransQST project will gather together data (both new and existing) and develop tools that will make it easier to assess the safety profile of potential medicines. They will also work to add to our understanding of when results in animal tests can be reliably extrapolated to humans, and develop models to predict concentrations of medicines in tissues, an important element of safety assessments. Another project output will be improved methods to visualise and analyse complex datasets during decision making on drug safety.

Achievements & News

IMI safety project TransQST showcases activities at the R and I days

IMI’s safety project TransQST was one of the EU-funded projects featured at the virtual exhibition of the recent EU Research and Innovation Days. ###When developing a new medicine, scientists need to know if the compound will be harmful to vital organs such as the heart, liver, or kidneys. However, studying this is far from easy. TransQST is gathering data and developing computer-based tools to make it easier to assess the safety profile of potential medicines. This will both improve medicines safety and reduce the use of animals in research.

In a presentation at the event, project participant Elisa Passini of the University of Oxford explains that computer models can deliver more accurate results than animal experiments (89% for computer models compared to 75-85% for animal tests). In addition to models based on single heart cells, Dr Passini is also working on three-dimensional computer models of the heart that require a super computer to run.

In total, over 35 000 people attended the R&I days, which ran online from 22 to 24 September.

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EFPIA companies
  • Abbvie Deutschland GMBH & Co Kg, Wiesbaden, Germany
  • Astrazeneca AB, Södertälje, Sweden
  • Boehringer Ingelheim Internationalgmbh, Ingelheim, Germany
  • Eli Lilly And Company LTD, Basingstoke, United Kingdom
  • Glaxosmithkline Research And Development LTD., Brentford, Middlesex, United Kingdom
  • Institut De Recherches Internationales Servier Iris, Suresnes, France
  • Janssen Pharmaceutica Nv, Beerse, Belgium
  • Orion Oyj, Espoo, Finland
  • Sanofi-Aventis Recherche & Developpement, Chilly Mazarin, France
Universities, research organisations, public bodies, non-profit groups
  • Erasmus Universitair Medisch Centrum Rotterdam, Rotterdam, Netherlands
  • European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg, Germany
  • Forschungsgesellschaft Fur Arbeitsphysiologie Und Arbeitsschutz Ev, Dortmund, Germany
  • Fundacio Institut Hospital Del Mar D Investigacions Mediques, Barcelona, Spain
  • The University Of Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom
  • Universitat Wien, Vienna, Austria
  • Universitatsklinikum Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
  • Universiteit Leiden, Leiden, Netherlands
  • Universiteit Maastricht, Maastricht, Netherlands
  • University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and mid-sized companies (<€500 m turnover)
  • Certara Uk Limited, London, United Kingdom
  • Synapse Research Management Partners SL, Barcelona, Spain
Non EFPIA companies
  • Crown Bioscience Netherlands BV, Utrecht, Netherlands
  • Vertex Pharmaceuticals (Europe) Limited, London, United Kingdom

NameEU funding in €
Certara Uk Limited484 600
Crown Bioscience Netherlands BV325 354
Erasmus Universitair Medisch Centrum Rotterdam220 500
European Molecular Biology Laboratory1 093 089
Forschungsgesellschaft Fur Arbeitsphysiologie Und Arbeitsschutz Ev350 250
Fundacio Institut Hospital Del Mar D Investigacions Mediques900 525
Synapse Research Management Partners SL353 669
The University Of Liverpool1 161 914
Universitaetsklinikum Aachen (left the project)132 435
Universitat Wien350 250
Universitatsklinikum Heidelberg269 790
Universiteit Leiden1 239 324
Universiteit Maastricht793 300
University of Oxford325 000
Total Cost8 000 000