Inaphaea BioLabs: one year on

This month marks one year since Inaphaea BioLabs launched. In this blog, Dr Andrew Carnegie, Head of Strategic Commercial Development at Inaphaea, describes how Inaphaea has grown and developed during its first year, notes key highlights during this time, and explores what’s next for the company.

Inaphaea BioLabs was spun out of ValiRx PLC in March 2023 to provide preclinical and drug discovery testing services to academic, biotech, and pharmaceutical researchers, as well as servicing ValiRx’s preclinical pipeline requirements, focusing on women’s health and oncology.

Based at MediCity, Nottingham, Inaphaea validates assays using patient-derived cell (PDC) models and offers those model samples under no-nonsense commercial licensing agreements to users for any research or commercial purpose.

Fundamental issues exist in drug development, including the failure to translate academic research due to lack of expertise, failure in clinical trials due to poorly understood preclinical data, and failure to recognise the needs of women in drug development.

Inaphaea’s advanced preclinical capabilities (including high content data generation and large-scale data curation and analysis) aim to generate deep biological understanding to reduce risk in clinical trials. By performing the science at the early, preclinical stage of development, Inaphaea can generate biological data that can be understood and utilised later in the development phases, offering significant financial savings to drug developers.

Developing our service offering

Now fully operational, Inaphaea aims to be our clients’ ‘lab down the corridor,’ offering wet lab capability, additional capacity, access to specific equipment, our patient-derived cell biobank, and our scientists’ skills and capabilities.

At the core of our service offering is the validation of assays using Inaphaea’s patient-derived cell models which are provided as samples under license to users for any research or commercial purpose. We have also joined forces with a hand-picked selection of companies to offer collaborative services and enable a seamless, integrated experience to clients across a broad range of preclinical research capabilities. These include biological modelling and advanced statistical analysis, pre-formulation and formulation development, enzyme assays, and AI toxicity prediction.

In June 2023, the lab’s capabilities were further strengthened by the acquisition of the scientific assets of Imagen Therapeutics, including a biobank of over 500 patient-derived cells. One month later, Inaphaea secured its first external contract with a UK biotech. This multi-stage project investigated possible anti-cancer properties of novel molecules using a phenotypic assay and benefitted from ready access to Inaphaea’s in-house PDCs. Inaphaea also commenced studies on internal ValiRx assets VAL301 and Cytolytix CLX001, reducing third party testing costs and the potential for delays.

Inaphaea BioLabs highlights

We marked Inaphaea’s official launch with an event on 26 September 2023 at our labs at MediCity Nottingham. Supported by BioNow, the event featured tours of the labs, talks from some of Inaphaea’s partner companies, and keynote speeches from our very own Dr Gareth Griffiths and Dr Cathy Tralau-Stewart.

In addition to facilitating positive scientific progress, the labs have played host to placement students from the University of Nottingham, featured in a three-part video series showcasing our work and partnerships, and seen Inaphaea’s Amelia Hatfield pass her PhD Viva and promoted to the position of Senior Scientist.

The Inaphaea commercial team was also pleased to attend BioEurope Spring 2024, where they arranged over 60 meetings to introduce Inaphaea and its comprehensive service offering to the international market.

Looking to the future

Inaphaea prides itself on conducting science that is reproducible, human relevant, and translatable to ensure efficient progress through discovery, preclinical, and towards clinical development.

It is important to us that PDCs remain at the heart of the work we do at Inaphaea. PDCs are the first step towards the true humanisation of preclinical science and can be used to improve the translation of preclinical assets and enhance biological understanding.

ValiRx is progressing an innovative portfolio of projects to address the important areas of oncology and the unmet need for treatments in the women’s health space. The development of Inaphaea has been an important step forward and will fill the gaps that exist for robust and reliable validated translational models in these areas.

BIO International Convention

As part of our plans to expand our reach and connect with potential customers around the world, the Inaphaea team is pleased to be attending the BIO International Convention from 3 to 6 June. We will be speaking to US and global businesses about Inaphaea’s capabilities, including our PDC models available in both 2D and 3D options, as well as our immuno-oncology assays. To arrange a meeting, please email: