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CellMade: Deeper Cellular Insight through Systems Biology

Ronald Bronsaer from CellMade, a sponsor company attending the marcus evans Discovery Summit 2011, on how Systems Biology allows for deeper cellular insight in drug discovery.

Interview with: Ronald Bronsaer, Chief Executive Officer, CellMade


Different patients with the same pathology do not respond to drugs in the same way, says Ronald Bronsaer, Chief Executive Officer, CellMade. The industry is moving away from a one-size-fits-all approach to more personalised medicine, but to achieve that objective, a deeper insight into biological systems is necessary. From a sponsor company attending the marcus evans Discovery Summit 2011, in Cannes, France, 21 - 23 March, Bronsaer discusses Systems Biology, building multi-disciplinary teams and what it takes for more innovative drug discovery to take place.

How can Systems Biology speed up drug discovery and development? How is your approach unique?

Ronald Bronsaer: What the industry has been doing for 20 years is building up huge databases of molecules, streaming them against single targets and trying to find hits. This has not been very successful at target identification while attrition rates are still very high.

We have taken the Systems Biology approach, which considers biology as a continuously communicating network of different cellular systems. If the communication within a cell or between different types of cells is disturbed at one or more levels, pathology can develop. The idea is that we should have a better understanding of the biological network and possibly on how biological networks communicate with each other, before adapting molecules to different patient groups. It is a move away from a one-size-fits-all approach to drug discovery towards more personalised medicine.

Within the same facilities we have brought a multi-disciplinary team, from biologists, chemists to bioinformatics specialists, in an attempt to achieve a better understanding of biological systems. The data generated are entered into a logic-based mathematical model, thereby helping to understand the way the communication network is working, how it reacts and adapts to a defined perturbation, and how these effects could be counteracted. Ultimately, these experiments deliver a better insight into the mechanisms of action of new drug entities and more generally, Xenobiotics. 

How does Systems Biology allow for more innovative drug discovery to take place?

Ronald Bronsaer: We know that different patients with the same pathology do not necessarily respond to drugs in the same way, so they need to be treated differently.  Systems Biology allows to identify multiple targets in selected organs and to detect the various reactions a molecule might have in a patient while treating a given pathology. Finally, System Biology should help in characterising patient populations according to these targets / reactions. This approach enables to address the right drug to a given class of patients, rather than administering a drug based on a pathology approach only.

What are some of the scientific areas or technologies worth following?

Ronald Bronsaer: We are focusing on inflammation and inflammation related diseases, and on understanding Chemokine Receptor Modulation, which plays an important role in several relevant pathologies and therefore for a number of new drugs currently under development. We believe that the combination of high-end analytical technologies to measure biological / chemical parameters with bioinformatics is the next step in drug discovery and drug development. The development of robust co-culture cell models derived from primary cells is another priority in our internal research programmes. Finally, besides the development of various mass-spectrometry based-technologies, we put priority in developing the use of cell imaging techniques.

Do you have a final piece of advice?

Ronald Bronsaer: What we are all trying to achieve requires a significant improvement of collaboration across different functions and expertises. We believe that companies need to work together in small (2 to 4 companies) company-teams on the common problems we are facing. The future of this industry should involve much more industry collaborative research-projects with clear project plans, study designs, milestones, budgets and go-no-go decision points.

Sarin Kouyoumdjian-Gurunlian
Press Manager
marcus evans, Summits Division
Tel: + 357 22 849 313

About the Discovery Summit 2011

This unique forum will take place at the Majestic Barrière Hotel, Cannes, France, 21 - 23 March 2011. Offering much more than any conference, exhibition or trade show, this exclusive meeting will bring together esteemed industry thought leaders and solution providers to a highly focused and interactive networking event. The summit includes presentations on ensuring successful drug discovery, stimulating innovation and creating partnerships.

For more information please send an email to or visit the event website

marcus evans group – life sciences / pharma sector portal

Please note that the summit is a closed business event and the number of participants strictly limited.

About marcus evans Summits

marcus evans Summits are high level business forums for the world’s leading decision-makers to meet, learn and discuss strategies and solutions. Held at exclusive locations around the world, these events provide attendees with a unique opportunity to individually tailor their schedules of keynote presentations, think tanks, seminars and one-to-one business meetings. For more information, please visit 

About CellMade

CellMade is a French-Dutch biotechnology company specializing in human cell biology and bio-analysis. Incorporated in 2007 by Ronald Bronsaer with support from Sofimac Partners and a group of private investors, CellMade develops and commercializes cell biology products and services. Since 2009, the proprietary CellInsightTM Systems Biology platform has generated multiple applications for drug development. In its own R&D program, CellMade uses its CellInsightTM platform for the identification of targets and biomarkers related to inflammatory pathologies.

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