An investigation from 490 BioTech, Inc. that launched to the International Space Station on SpaceX CRS-14 will evaluate the effectiveness of a tool kit designed to test the safety and effectiveness of anti-cancer drugs. The failure rate of new drug candidates upon reaching the preclinical or clinical trial testing phases is greater than 50%. This is an expensive burden for both drug companies and consumers that delays therapies from reaching patients. 490 BioTech will use the microgravity environment on the ISS National Lab to test a novel bioluminescent assay tool kit that may significantly reduce the failure rate of drug discovery efforts.
Microgravity promotes superior 3D cell culture growth, enabling drug evaluations that may better mimic the cellular response of human tissues. This investigation will speciﬁcally examine anti-cancer therapeutics with downstream applications to other drugs. Economic models suggest that a 10% improvement in failure prediction rates prior to conducting clinical trials could save $100 million in development costs per candidate drug.