Metrion Biosciences expands ion channel drug discovery service capabilities and in-house expertise

• Appointment of Dr Gary Clark as Head of Screening Technologies supports Metrion’s cell biology initiative and introduction of new screening platforms
• Service capabilities expanded by addition of 384-well high throughput assay platforms and automated low volume liquid handling systems

Metrion Biosciences Limited (“Metrion”), the specialist ion channel contract research and drug discovery company, today announced it has expanded its capabilities and expertise through the addition of automated low volume liquid handling capability and 384-well electrophysiology and fluorescence-based high throughput screening (HTS) assay systems. In the newly created position of Head of Screening Technologies, Dr Gary Clark will lead the implementation of the expanded services as well as the company’s enhanced cell biology capabilities.

Dr Clark has over 20 years’ experience in drug discovery, 14 of which have been in ion channel contract research. His previous roles include the strategic leadership of multiple ion channel discovery research programmes, encompassing assay development, high throughput screening, medicinal chemistry screening and cell line generation. Gary is an expert electrophysiologist and was closely involved in the early development of automated patch clamp (APC) techniques at Xention Discovery. He also pioneered 384-well APC screening for ion channel targets and led multiple high throughput APC screens at BioFocus. Prior to joining Metrion, he was Research Leader in the ion channel group at Charles River Discovery (UK). Dr Clark holds a BSc (Hons) in Zoology with Physiology from The University of London and a PhD in Cardiac Electrophysiology from the University of Coventry.

Metrion’s enhanced ion channel drug discovery service capabilities will include the introduction of additional automated low volume liquid handling capabilities, 384-well electrophysiology and fluorescence-based high HTS assay systems. The new platforms, a Sophion Biosciences Qube 384 MkII automated electrophysiology instrument will complement the Company’s three existing, high fidelity QPatch 48 channel systems. The Molecular Devices 384-well FLIPR® Penta enables fluorescence-based HTS hit finding and medicinal chemistry triage. Both systems will also provide support to the Metrion’s expanded cell biology activities.

Dr Andrew Southan, Chief Executive Officer of Metrion Biosciences, said: “It is a pleasure to welcome Gary to the Metrion team. His considerable experience of ion channel drug discovery in a contract research setting, and at the forefront of the application of automated electrophysiology since its inception, will be a huge asset as we expand our offering with the addition of these new high-spec platforms and systems. He also brings to Metrion extensive strategic drug discovery knowledge for ion channel targets across multiple therapeutic areas, and excellent client liaison skills.”

Dr Gary Clark, Head of Screening Technologies at Metrion Biosciences, commented: “I am delighted to be joining the Metrion team at this exciting and pivotal time in the company’s development. It will be a privilege to lead the cell biology initiative, support the introduction of new screening platforms and help guide Company strategy to ensure that Metrion remains at the forefront of the ion channel drug discovery research services industry.”

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Media contact:
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Zyme Communications
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