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Anatomic Incorporated and Vala Sciences Inc. Successfully Secure a NIH/NCATS Phase I SBIR Project

[Minneapolis, MN October 9, 2023] — Anatomic Incorporated and Vala Sciences Inc. are pleased to announce their successful collaboration in securing a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) project from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS). The project, titled "The Pain in a Dish Assay (PIDA): a high throughput system featuring human stem cell-derived nociceptors and dorsal horn neurons to test compounds for analgesic activity" (NIH/NCATS R43 TR004743-01), represents a significant advancement in pain research and drug discovery.

The Pain in a Dish Assay (PIDA) project is set to revolutionize the field of pain management by leveraging cutting-edge technology and scientific expertise. Anatomic Incorporated, a leader in stem cell technologies, and Vala Sciences Inc., a pioneer in high-content screening assays, have joined forces to develop a high-throughput assay that utilizes human stem cell-derived nociceptors and dorsal horn neurons to assess the analgesic activity of compounds. This innovative approach allows researchers to dive deeper into potential mechanisms and promises to accelerate the development of new treatments for pain and improve the quality of life for millions of individuals suffering from chronic pain conditions.

"We are thrilled to have the opportunity to collaborate with Vala Sciences Inc. on this groundbreaking project," said Patrick Walsh, CEO of Anatomic Incorporated. "By combining our expertise in stem cell technology with Vala Sciences' proficiency in high-content screening, we aim to create a versatile and efficient platform for pain research and drug discovery. This Phase I SBIR grant from NIH/NCATS is a significant step toward our shared goal of developing tools and assays useful for screening more effective analgesics."

The Pain in a Dish Assay (PIDA) will allow researchers to evaluate a wide range of compounds quickly and accurately, streamlining the drug discovery process. By utilizing human stem cell-derived nociceptors and dorsal horn neurons, PIDA will provide a physiologically relevant and predictive model for assessing the potential analgesic properties of compounds, ultimately expediting the development of novel pain medications.

"We are excited to partner with Anatomic Incorporated on this transformative project," stated Dr. Patrick McDonough, CSO of Vala Sciences Inc. "Our expertise in high-content screening assays perfectly complements Anatomic's stem cell technology, enabling us to create a state-of-the-art platform that has the potential to reshape the landscape of pain research and treatment. We are grateful to NIH/NCATS for their support and recognition of the importance of our collaborative efforts."

The Phase I SBIR project represents the first step in the development of the Pain in a Dish Assay (PIDA). With the grant from NIH/NCATS, Anatomic Incorporated and Vala Sciences Inc. will work diligently over the coming months to validate and refine this innovative platform, laying the foundation for future advancements in pain drug discovery.

For inquiries related to this press release or to learn more about the Pain in a Dish Assay (PIDA) project, please contact:

Vincent Truong ( for Anatomic Incorporated

Pat McDonough ( for Vala Sciences Inc.

About Anatomic Incorporated:

Anatomic Incorporated is a leading provider of stem cell derived neurons. With a focus on advancing regenerative medicine and drug discovery, Anatomic is committed to harnessing the potential of stem cells to develop innovative solutions for a wide range of therapeutic applications.

About Vala Sciences Inc.:

Vala Sciences Inc. is a pioneering company in the field of high-content screening assays. Specializing in cell-based assays and imaging, Vala Sciences is dedicated to providing innovative tools and solutions to accelerate drug discovery and advance scientific research.


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