News, events and publications:

Commercial future for model gut

Health by stealth - 28 February 2013. Tim Gander
News from: Institute of Food Research

The Dynamic Gastric Model, developed from years of research at the Institute of Food Research, has taken significant steps towards improving its commercial use by food and drug companies worldwide.

IFR and the technology management company Plant Bioscience Limited (PBL) have secured funding from BBSRC to further develop the Dynamic Gastric Model to validate and improve how well it simulates the release of nutrients or drugs in humans.

PBL has also signed an exclusive license agreement with Bioneer regarding use of the Dynamic Gastric Model (DGM). Bioneer has also acquired PBL's highly successful DGM contract research business which provides specialist DGM services to the pharmaceutical and food-related industries.

BBSRC has granted funding to further develop the model gut machine. Image: IFR
BBSRC has granted funding to further develop the model gut machine. Image: IFR

The DGM is based on 15 years of research at the Institute of Food Research, in partnership with PBL. It accurately simulates the physical and biochemical processes that occur within the human stomach. It is the world's first computer controlled, mechanical simulator of gastric digestion that works in real-time to process real chewed foods or meals and oral pharmaceutical or nutraceutical products.

The commercialisation of the model represents a significant achievement for IFR in developing research and making it commercially viable.

IFR will continue to work with the DGM, as part of its core research into understanding the complex interaction between health, the food we eat and our gut.

The new two-year project, with funding from the BBSRC's Super Follow on Fund scheme, is worth over £900k and will refine and improve models to ensure that IFR can continue its strategic research to determine how the nutritional quality and health benefits of the food we eat can be influenced by the way it is digested. This research at IFR in the future will continue to utilise the in vitro models which have been developed, including the DGM and the model colon.

The model will also be further developed to enable studies that would not be permitted in humans; for instance, the impact of taking drugs with alcohol, or the development of an infant formulation.

IFR's Professor Peter Wilde said: "We will clearly demonstrate how well the model simulates and predicts the availability of nutrients or drugs in humans, and to refine the model so that it can be more widely used, and therefore reduce the reliance on animal and human studies. This will significantly enhance the commercial and scientific potential of the model."

The license agreement for the Dynamic Gastric Model expands Bioneer's readily available services for pharmaceutical dosage form testing, drug discovery screening, bioequivalence assessment, and functional food analysis. The Model Gut services will be integrated into Bioneer's own service offering under the Bioneer:FARMA brand.

Professor Anette Müllertz, Head of Department at Bioneer:FARMA said: "The DGM takes our services to a highly advanced level. In combination with our existing digestion models, we can now conduct advanced analyses along the whole gastro-intestinal tract."

Martin Stocks, PBL Business Development Manager, said: "We are delighted to partner Bioneer:FARMA to take The Model Gut into an exciting new phase. The integration with Bioneer:FARMA will provide a wide array of complementary capabilities that will both expand and enable the unique capabilities of the Model Gut's technologies for determining the performance of ingested materials in the gastric and intestinal compartments. "

ENDS