A package of pre-clinical immunology services

April 23rd 2019

A collaboration between CER Groupe and the Institute for Medical Immunology (IMI) enables the two organisations to offer a package of pre-clinical immunology services that combine high technology and certified quality standards.

CER Groupe is a research centre with accreditations in life sciences. Services offered by this CRO(1) include certified biotechnological analyses used to develop drugs for human or veterinary use. ‘Before they can test a molecule on humans (or on the target animal), all laboratories are required to have pre-clinical tests conducted by an independent organisation’, reminds Marie-Ange Benoit, project manager at CER Groupe. ‘And this is what we do: in vivo and in vitro tests in order to check that the molecule is effective and ensure that it meets applicable standards of innocuity and non-toxicity.’

A collaboration with IMI

In 2014, the European Regional Development Fund enabled CER Groupe and ULB’s Institute for Medical Immunology (IMI) to launch a collaboration, which included creating a pre-clinical immunomonitoring platform. ‘Our newly acquired 21-colour cytometers will enable us to develop new advanced immunomonitoring tests at IMI’, explains David Torres, researcher at IMI and head of the cytometry platform at ULB (Gosselies) and at CER Groupe. ‘As for CER Groupe, it is working with a certified quality control system; this allows it to conduct analyses on validated pre-clinical study models.’
CER Groupe has acquired the same model of 13-color cytometer that ULB’s cytometry platform in Gosselies already owns. ‘By harmonising our procedures, we can easily corroborate new immunomonitoring techniques based on our quality standards’, explains Marie-Ange Benoit.

A service package
‘All of this lets us offer companies a “package” of services.’ Half a dozen clients have already called upon this joint service offering. The benefit to them is twofold:
1. they no longer need to call upon multiple companies and ship samples this way and that, saving them both time and money; and
2. if the analysis yields positive results, the client can submit a stronger application to the authorities in order to start clinical trials for their project.
CER Groupe and IMI can also collaborate at an earlier stage of the process. Marie-Ange Benoit and David Torres can meet the research team of the company in order to help its members refine their project or identify the most relevant tests to conduct. This helps them get off to a good start!

(1) Contract Research Organisation