Press release

The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) and Pierre Fabre Médicament (PFM) join forces to study the use of biosensor chips in the clinical development of drugs

10 March 2015

The EPFL is at the forefront of the development of biosensor chips that can be implanted under the skin and are capable of following biological indicators;

By testing these innovative chips, PFM intends to boost its new molecule development process


Castres (France) November 10, 2015 – Pierre Fabre Médicament (PFM) and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) have agreed to a scientific collaboration on the use of biosensor chips developed by the EPFL in clinical studies conducted by PFM.
The biosensor chips developed by the EFPL’s scientists are able to assess the homeostasis of individuals (pH, temperature, blood glucose level, etc.) and measure more accurately than traditional methods the concentration in the body of an active agent coming from an administered drug. Biosensors chips can therefore have many applications over the development of a new molecule:

  • In the early stage of a molecule’s development, biosensors chips will allow scientists to find out faster whether or not it might be interesting to continue the study, which will increase the chances of success of the project down the road.
  • In the clinical development stage, the precise measurement of the concentration of active agents administered will make it possible to analyze, almost in real time, the therapeutic effect and tolerability of the drug.
  • Once a drug is marketed, this new technology could also make it easier to monitor treatment progress and adherence for specific diseases, expensive treatments or drugs with low therapeutic range.

The collaboration between the EPFL and Pierre Fabre Medicament’s R&D teams began with a feasibility study on the use of biosensor chips in the development of a molecule, currently in proof-of-concept clinical trials (Phase II) for the treatment of schizophrenia (F17464). The main results of the study are expected to be published in the 2nd quarter of 2016.

"Through this original collaboration with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, our R&D takes a resolute turn toward new information technologies applied to drug development. The use of biosensor chips in clinical studies is an innovative project whose success would boost the development of effective and safe new molecules for patients”, said Dr. Laurent Audoly, Head of Research & Development Pierre Fabre Médicament.


Knowing precisely and in real time the effect of drugs on the body is critical to personalized medicine and the accuracy expected in tomorrow’s world. Biosensor chips bring to the research teams of Pierre Fabre Médicament a unique and reliable solution to measure with extreme accuracy data that are critical to our understanding of the effects of a drug candidate”, said Dr. Sandro Carrara, Professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne.

About biosensor chips:
The technological innovation brought by biosensor chips could have many medical applications. These highly innovative systems could be implanted under the skin of patients. Their energy supply is then provided by a simple patch applied to the skin, which also enables to transfer the data to a mobile phone. Patients and their doctors could then use this real-time data to customize the treatments.


About F17464:
F17464 is a drug candidate developed by Pierre Fabre Médicament in the area of Central Nervous System, one of the company’s four strategic development areas, along with Oncology, Dermatology and Consumer Health Care. This compound with D3 antagonist, 5-HT1A partial agonist properties is currently under development in the treatment of schizophrenia. The ongoing clinical trial is designed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of F17464 compared to placebo in patients suffering from acute phase of schizophrenia. This multinational trial will be conducted over a six-week period on 142 patients in several European countries.


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