Edelweiss Connect, based in Basel, has built a reputation for specialised in silico R&D through its involvement in major research programs such as EUToxRisk, OpenRiskNet and ToxHQ.
In 2018, the company set up a laboratory at its headquarters in Basel to offer in vitro support to its in silico solutions.
Now, it has created Safer World by Design as an agile, integrating platform of business partners to translate knowledge into industrialised solutions.
Chemicals and mixtures of chemicals must be tested for toxicity before they can go into new pharmaceuticals, foods or cosmetics. For the past 70 years, this safety assessment has largely been done on animals in so-called in vivo, or “in life”, tests. But testing on animals has significant drawbacks. First, it’s extremely expensive. Second, it’s slow. Third, the physiology of mice and rabbits is not the same as ours so tests on animals are not always accurate. Finally, society has itself changed with growing numbers of consumers considering in vivo tests to be unacceptable. In looking for alternatives to reduce and replace animal testing, scientists came up with in vitro, or “in glass”, methods that test chemicals on cells in test tubes, flasks and petri dishes. The results already achieved with “organ-on-a-chip” technology indicate the promise of in vitro alternatives. To in vitro, scientists have also added the power of computers (in silico methods). To predict the toxicity of a new chemical, they can now pool available data about the toxicity of compounds with similar composition and structures. Given the right amount and kind of data, no new experiments on animals are needed.
That’s where Edelweiss Connect comes in.
Science is data-driven. A scientist doesn’t care if the data s/he needs comes from the lab next door or from a lab on the other side of the world. All that matters is that the data be relevant, accurate and reproducible.
But here’s the problem: a lot of data never gets out of the lab it was produced in. Sometimes, it never even gets out of the individual scientist’s CSV file. Many scientists have no idea how to share their findings and no time to figure out complicated software to do so. As a result, labs all over the world may repeat the same work, unaware that somebody somewhere has already solved their problem or may have relevant data for it.
Edelweiss Connect has developed computer software that helps combine data from many different sources and formats into a useable form for evaluation and re-use. In addition, we have developed other software programs that can use the collected data and data from in vitro tests to predict the safety of chemical compounds in the human body.
Edelweiss Connect aims to bring data from different research labs together. Our strategy for doing this is two-fold. First, we provide in silico solutions that make it easy to combine data from different sources and formats into a useable form for evaluation and sharing. Second, we create integrating platforms of business partners to promote collaboration and the transfer of knowledge into industrialised solutions.
Over the past decade, Edelweiss Connect has built a reputation for helping scientists collaborate and pool their data in a meaningful way. We have led and participated in important international research projects (EUToxRisk, OpenRiskNet, OpenTox, ACEnano, NanoCommons…) We have also developed bespoke scientific software solutions to answer the needs of major consumer product and (agro)chemical companies (e.g., P&G, Syngenta, PMI…).
Now, we bring this combined experience and expertise to the development of our new collaborative business platforms. All of them will have a special emphasis on community, partnering and scientific innovation to support better health and environmental care. For example, we recently established the SaferWorldbyDesign partnership to combine the latest advances in science and technology to help companies design smarter, safer products without animal testing.