OtoScience Labs is the first full-service contract research organization to conduct research on hearing loss and tinnitus (ototoxicity) in rats and mice. We use a patented system for the measurement of tinnitus and hearing loss to help pharmaceutical and biotech companies develop preventative and treatment strategies for these maladies. Our ototoxicity testing is also used for screening drugs or chemicals for damage to the ear. Approximately 30% of FDA-approved drugs have tinnitus or hearing loss as a side effect. The ear is one of the first systems to display signs of damage from environmental toxins, medication side effects, or pathological medical condition, which is why we use the auditory system as an early screening or sentinel tool for ototoxicity.
Detecting and measuring this toxicity early in the clinical trial process can save a company millions of dollars, and therefore aiding Pharma in building a more efficient drug pipeline. We promote testing of chemicals to the EPA, industrial chemical, and agrochemical domains in order to develop safer chemicals used areas such as commercial farming, gardening, and pest control. OSL also advises testing drugs to the FDA and Pharma for the same purpose: development of safe and effective medicines that will be used by millions of people every day.
Our technology gives us the ability of high-throughput primary screening of rats and mice for both hearing loss and tinnitus. Secondary testing can also be performed with more traditional auditory brainstem response (ABR) threshold measurements, and confirmation can be made with hair cell histology. The combination of ABRs and cochlear dissection creates a powerful tool, one that we believe will become a standard screen for all new drugs and for testing industrial and agricultural chemicals for ototoxicity. ABRs have already become a common tool used by hearing researchers to study hearing, hearing loss, and tinnitus, and has been used in several dozens of published studies. This screen will help organizations address the regulatory demands of the EPA and FDA’s draft guidance.