Assaying with iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes: setting the rhythm for early drug discovery

Webinar Summary:

Cardiotoxicity is one of the most common adverse drug effects as unwanted drug interactions with cardiac ion channels could induce lethal arrhythmias by affecting cardiac electrophysiology. For these reasons, physiological assays that measure cardiomyocyte function are particularly important to reveal drug effects and discover new therapeutic targets.
Human iPSC-derived cardiac cell models enable recapitulation of heart physiology, disease modeling and testing for adverse drug effects, thus providing a human context and throughput needed to improve the efficiency of drug development.

This presentation will cover services provided by Axxam using iCell® Cardiomyocytes2 (FUJIFILM Cellular Dynamics, Inc.) for:

  • High-throughput applications as a verified model for cardiac safety assessment, including in the Comprehensive in vitro Proarrhythmia Assay (CiPA) initiative.
  • Optimized functional assays enabling robust and reproducible measurements of compound-induced effects on human cardiomyocyte physiology.
  • Manual patch clamp recordings, which is the gold standard for ion channel studies.
  • The development of HTS-compatible Ca2+ oscillation assays for the evaluation of disease models, including arrhythmias, and for the early identification of drug-induced cardiac risks using various HTP-compatible platforms (FDSS®7000EX, FLIPR Tetra® and FLiOP).


  • Ravi Vaidyanathan – Senior Product Manager, Cardiovascular, FUJIFILM Cellular Dynamics
  • Riccardo Rizzetto – Principal Scientist, Electrophysiology, Axxam
  • Lucia Rutigliano – Lab Supervisor, Principal Scientist, iPSC Unit, Axxam
  • Viviana Agus – Unit Manager, Unit 2 Cell Biology, Axxam

Ravi Vaidyanathan joined FUJIFILM Cellular Dynamics in 2019, after obtaining a PhD in Pharmacology and gaining over 10 years of research experience in the cardiac field. He is a cardiac cellular electrophysiologist by training with a special focus on the mechanisms of arrhythmia and generating in-vitro (stem cell) and in-vivo (animal) disease models to study inherited arrhythmia syndromes. As a Sr. Product Manager at FUJIFILM Cellular Dynamics, he manages the cardiovascular portfolio, including the launch of multiple products, such as the iCell Cardiac Fibroblasts, and the iCell Brain Microvascular Endothelial Cells, which are part of the iCell Blood-Brain Barrier Kit.

Riccardo Rizzetto joined Axxam in 2015, after obtaining a PhD in Molecular and Translational Medicine (DIMET) and two years postdoctoral experience in the cardiac field. He is an electrophysiologist by training with a special focus on the mechanisms of arrhythmogenesis and electromechanical coupling in cardiac cells. He has a strong background in ion channels and membrane potential dynamics in both excitable (cardiac, neuronal) and non-excitable systems. In Axxam he extended his experience in ion channels and electrogenic transporters applied to the drug discovery process, with both manual and automated patch clamp platforms (16, 48 and 384 format).

Lucia Rutigliano is a cell biologist by training and she works as Principal Scientist and Lab Supervisor in the iPSC Unit at Axxam. She has a strong background in the field of drug discovery and disease modelling using iPSC-derived cells (neurons, microglia, cardiomyocytes). She has experience in developing several cell-based assays for different types of targets, analyzing their functionality through the use of different readout systems and instrumentation.

Viviana Agus joined Axxam in 2001, after completing a Master’s in Biology. She worked as a scientist for several years, focused on setting up cell-based assays for different targets: GPCR, ion channels, transporters, hormone receptors, etc. She gained strong experience with most of the automated 384 well screening platforms, then in 2015 she started developing a platform of Optogenetic assays to be used in drug discovery, taking care of both scientific scouting, creation of cellular models, and the invention of new dedicated instrumentation. She is currently the Unit Manager of one of Axxam’s Cell Biology teams, managing both internal research activities and fee-for-service projects for clients.

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