The drug discovery industry is facing immense pressure to develop better drugs in a less costly way. The current development pipeline is lengthy and inefficient, and inadequate tools for predicting clinical failure at during the preclinical stages in the process drives up the cost of developing a new drug.  According to the latest data from the industry association BIO, on average, less than one in ten drugs under development is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).


Drugs fail for two reasons: they do not work, and they are no safe.  When such drugs are identified during the drug screening process in the pre-clinical stages, funds and resources can be re-routed and dedicated to drugs that do work and are safe.  This “fail fast, fail cheap” paradigm, can save time and money, resulting in less expensive, more efficient drugs delivered to patients much faster.


In the past, the drug discovery industry has approached this issue of improving drug screening assays by drastically increasing the assay automation and throughput.  Despite an increase in throughput and sophistication, the assays have not become more predictive of clinical utility, signaling that throughput alone is insufficient to ensure success. 

All-optical assays

The orthogonal way of improving the predictiveness of screening assays is to ensure that the in vitro conditions are resembling the in vivo conditions as close as possible. It is a huge problem that currently has not yet been solved.

For example, in a human body, cells respond dynamically to environmental stimuli by changing their functional states. At the same time, cells are “static” during screening assays, and the assay data are acquired either from cells at one functional state or at an ensemble average of randomly occurring heterogeneous states. Since the effect of a drug often varies depending on the functional state of the targeted cell, the predictive values of such assays are greatly limited.


The solution to this problem is to dynamically provide stimulation signals to cells while monitoring their responses to drugs during kinetic screening assays.  Such “built-in” cell stimulation will enable the discovery of use-dependent drugs and significantly increase the predictive values of drug screening assays by reducing false positive/false negative hits. 


Our goal is to help to discover safer drugs, more efficient drugs, previously undiscoverable drugs, and to do it faster and in a less costly way. 

Our Solution

Our GraMOS technology provides the ability to optical stimulate cells without any interference with the optical recording modality.  In other words, our G-plates can enable all-optical assays.

To accomplish this goal, Nanotools Bioscience is developing specialized nanotechnology-based cell culture microplates with “built-in” optical stimulation capabilities to provide dynamic optical stimulation of genetically intact cells during high-throughput screening drug discovery campaigns. Our cell-stimulating microplates are expected to have a transformative effect on drug discovery by

  • leading to the identification and validation of new therapeutic targets;

  • enabling the discovery of new drugs with complex activity-dependent mechanisms of actions that can only be discovered when cells are activated during screening assays;

  • making the drug discovery process profoundly faster and cheaper.

Therefore, GraMOS-enabled all-optical assays will help to address such societal needs as expediting the discovery of new drugs with high efficacy and selectivity and making new drugs more affordable.


Our address

9500 Gilman Dr., MS#0436, La Jolla, CA 92093



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