Photo: National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark

Support to analyse chemical compounds’ harmful effects in humans

Monday 09 Dec 13


Eva Bay Wedebye
Senior Officer, Head of Research Group
DTU National Food Institute
+45 35 88 76 04


 Martin Friis Mikkelsen

Martin Friis-Mikkelsen

Director, Saxocon
40 11 20 27    

The new biotech company Saxocon offers companies direct access to the high-quality knowledge of researchers at the National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark, about the potentially harmful effects of organic compounds in humans and animals. The institute has validated and developed a QSAR database which can predict potentially harmful effects of chemical compounds by means of computer simulation.

The National Food Institute’s QSAR database contains models and predictions from more than 70 QSAR computer models for the physical-chemical properties of over 180,000 organic compounds. A long row of harmful effects in cells, animals and, thus, humans can be predicted by using these models. QSAR stands for Quantitative Structure-Activity Relationships, and researchers at the National Food Institute validate and use their own as well as commercial models.


Biotech company offers high-quality services

Saxocon is a biotech company jointly owned by the Technical University of Denmark and Martin Friis-Mikkelsen, CEO and co-founder. The company offers high-quality services to model toxicological predictions with the help of QSAR tools. Besides modelling, Saxocon offers evaluation of results and submission in a format tailored to the wishes of each customer.


QSAR models save time and money

QSAR models may be used in the early phase of developing drugs or chemicals for cosmetics, foods and other consumer products to test and analyse whether the substances can cause harmful effects, e.g. DNA damages, cancer or allergy.

The models contribute to increase information about a particular compound, and save time and money for companies and public authorities. The database grows over time as new models are developed or purchased.

Innovation and commercialisation of research

Martin Friis-Mikkelsen founded Saxocon in close coordination with the National Food Institute and Copenhagen Spin-outs. Copenhagen Spin-outs is a cooperation project between the research environment and industries in the capital region of Denmark with a focus on innovation and commercialisation of biotechnological research in Metropolitan Copenhagen.

”It takes specialists to produce and evaluate results from QSAR models”, says Martin Friis-Mikkelsen, and adds:

”Some companies have employees who master this task, however, most companies need expert assistance to identify opportunities and pitfalls in QSAR models. Now they can contact Saxocon, where I am ready to welcome projects, together with researchers from the National Food Institute. Customers may come with any organic-chemical structure. If we don’t have an appropriate model for the analysis needed, we can develop a new model which meets the demands of the company.”

A fast and inexpensive method for retrieving important information
"Most companies need expert assistance to identify opportunities and pitfalls in QSAR models. Now they can contact Saxocon."
Martin Friis-Mikkelsen

”QSAR models build on experimental test results. Once the models have been developed, it is both faster and cheaper to run sequences from many QSAR models, perhaps for many compounds at a time, than testing in e.g. animals. From the validations we know how exact the predictions calculated by the models are”, says Eva Bay Wedebye, chief adviser, who is one of the main forces behind the research in and development of QSAR models at the National Food Institute.


QSAR models provide decision support

”It takes tremendous investments to develop drugs, because drug compounds must be tested in depth for effects and side-effects. Quite early in the development phase of e.g. a drug – even before the compound is produced in the laboratory -, QSAR analyses may provide a company with knowledge about potentially harmful effects. In this way, the analyses may contribute to decisions about the following laboratory testing, and perhaps about whether the customer should continue to develop this particular drug, or whether he should go for alternatives”, says Anders Permin, deputy director at the National Food Institute.


Read more

Read more about Saxocon.


Read more about research and development of QSAR. at the National Food Institute.

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