New project hopes to reduce the use of animals in drug research

Mouse in laboratory

Charles River Laboratories has announced the launch of its Virtual Control Groups (VCG) initiative with Sanofi.

The companies are working together to reduce animal usage by replacing selected control group animals with selected matched virtual control animals developed using retrospective datasets.

The VCG collaboration is a project guided by Charles River’s Alternative Methods Advancement Project (AMAP), focused on reducing the use of animals in research.

“Charles River is uniquely positioned to combine the science of toxicology with the power of machine learning to drive greater use of VCGs for nonclinical research across the industry,” said Shannon Parisotto, Corporate Executive Vice President, Global Discovery & Safety Assessment, Charles River.

A VCG is a data-driven, digital creation based on robust historical study data, parameters, and complex statistical methodology.

VCGs are an established practice in some clinical trials, however the application to preclinical research is new.

Charles River is partnering with internal and external stakeholders, including regulators and leaders from the biopharmaceutical industry to advance this research. Charles River and Sanofi are collaborating to pilot VCGs in nonclinical toxicology programmes and explore their use.

“We are proud to work with Charles River on this important initiative,” said Philippe Detilleux, Global Head of Preclinical Safety, Sanofi. “We have an incredible opportunity to advance sustainable science by reducing our reliance on animal models, and VCGs are one way in which we are utilising technology to make progress in this area.”

Diana Spencer, Senior Digital Content Editor, DDW

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