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Preclinical Laboratory Services

Translational Pig Models

Increasing interpretation of preclinical data to the clinic

Large animal models for preclinical efficacy studies

The failure rate of drugs entering clinical phases still remains quite high with 1 and 10 being approved by the FDA. A 2014 study published in Nature indicates that of all the drugs that were suspended in clinical trial phases, over half of them were contributed to efficacy. While this could be attributed to the drug's biological data and/or poor study design, the fact remains that interpreting data from preclinical rodent studies to human clinical data can be a challenge. By utilizing more translational models in larger species prior to going to clinical stages, drug developers may be able to increase the success rates of those drugs entering clinical phases. 


MD Biosciences has selected the pig as the ideal model species for developing new preclinical models. Why pigs?
  • Many systems between the pig and human are similar such as cardiovascular system, Central nervous system, immune system and the inflammatory response, pancreas, digestive system and skin structure and innervation.
  • Pig skin exhibits a higher degree of homology to human skin making the pig a preferable animal model for wound healing studies or studies involving transdermal drug delivery.
  • Considerable correlation between contracile, metabolic and morphological features in skeletal muscle of humans and pigs. Unlike the loose skin of rodents, pig skin is tightly attached to the muscle and subcutaneous tissue in humans.  
  • Similarity in the innervation patterns of the skin, characterized in the pig hind limb.
  • Nociceptive and non-nociceptive C-fiber classes found in the skin of the pig correlate with human fiber classes, in both distribution and axonal excitability changes.
  • Correlation between the mechanical sensitivity thresholds that were measured in the pigs and those that were measured in human.
  • The pig sciatic nerve after 6 months of sustained hyperglycemia exhibits alterations in fiber density often observed in human patients with long-term diabetes. 


By using the rodent models to narrow down the compounds and then confirming with pig studies, researchers can increase the interpretation of the data to the clinic. In addition to the models available on the right, MD Biosciences is currently developing models for diabetes and arthritis in the pig. If you would like to join a validation study, please contact us to discuss further.





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