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Soong Poh Loong

Ternion Biosciences Pte. Ltd.

Poh Loong Soong is the co-founder of Ternion Biosciences Pte. Ltd., a Singapore startup biotech company which focus on innovative technologies for accelerated drug development and screening. PL’s expertise in human stem cell derived cardiomyocytes have contributed to the development of a novel platform-assay OptioQUANT, enabling precise high throughput fluorescence based readouts from physiologically matured cells at single cells resolution. As a result, Ternion was awarded the ESG-TECs POV grant for this development. Having direct involvement in the development of the cGMP grade human stem cell lines in ES Cell International previously, PL has deep insights and expertise in human stem cell lines generation, genetic engineering and pharmaco-disease modelling. PL obtained his Dr. rer. nat. from the Dept of Pharmacology and Toxicology, UMG at the University of Göttingen in AG. Prof. Zimmermann’s Lab and was responsible for establishing the hSC culture capabilities in the department. As a senior scientist, PL has led efforts to advance hSC technologies particularly in regenerative medicine using tissue engineering approaches and holds a patent for the generation and fabrication of a novel biomimetic BioVAD for provision of cardiac restraint. He is currently based in Singapore in the iHealthTech department at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine of the National University of Singapore.

Human stem cell derived cardiomyocytes for drug screening and tissue engineering

Abstract:

Human stem cell derived cardiomyocytes and engineered heart muscle offers great potential to model human disease, drug discovery and safety screening. We routinely culture human induced pluripotent stem cells in animal component free medium followed by mesodermal induction, direct differentiation and cardiac specification either as cell monolayers or small aggregates.

At Ternion, we culture these cardiomyocytes on our custom built OptioQUANTTM platform and perform characterizations to subtype into pacemaker, atrial and ventricular cells. Together with our collaborators, the platform was validated in the article published in Stem Cells Research & Therapy.

For drug screening purposes, we first acquired baseline membrane action potentials of the cardiac subtypes, followed by exposures of drug/compounds at pharmacological concentrations. OptioQUANTTM acquires sub-second fluorescence signal changes with single cells resolution, tenabling precise reports of subtle drug induced changes in membrane action potentials from large numbers of human CMs simultaneously. This allows us to screen compounds with precision and model the kinetics of the drug Mechanism of Action (MoA) in an unbiased manner.

To provide a more physiological model of the heart tissue, we exploited the regenerative potential of hSC-CMs to generate 3D constructs engineered heart muscles in. These engineered heart muscles can then be used for drug screening, or as an epicardial cardiac patch to render contractility in a myocardial infarcted (MI) heart.

Taken together, human stem cell derived cells provide a viable alternative to animal based disease modeling, leading to safer drug development and holds great therapeutic potential for human disease.