Preclinical r&d services


Acute myocardial infarction is a major cause of mortality and morbidiy in industrialized societies. The major challenge for the medical industry is to develop innovative treatment to reduce the size of myocardial infarction (Ferdinandy et al, Pharmacol Rev, 2007)

Pharmahungary is a technology leader CRO in the measurement of the size of myocardial infarction in different preclinical models of myocardial infarction. Infarct size is a gold standard end-point of preclinical and clinical studies of cardioprotection against myocardial ischemia and reperfusion injury. Infarct size is measured by a proprietary “infarctsize” system developed in-house by Pharmahungary (see, Infarctsize™ is a trademark of Pharmahungary). The system consists of a high-throughput, precision slicing hardware as well as an image analyzer & documentation software designed for the special needs of fast and reproducible measurement and documentation of myocardial infarct size.

The following acute and chronic myocardial infarction models are available in rodents and large animals:

  • ex vivo global ischemia and reperfusion-induced infarction
  • ex vivo coronary occlusion and reperfusion-induced infarction
  • in vivo coronary occlusion and reperfusion-induced infarction
  • in vivo permanent coronary occlusion-induced infarction and heart failure
  • in vivo coronary occulsion and reperfusion-induced chronic infarction and heart failure

Pre-screening of cardioprotective drugs are available in cardiac myocyte assays (including stem cell-derived cardiac myocyte assays) subjected to simulated ischemia/reperfusion.


About 5 million people in the U.S. have heart failure. Heart failure diminishes quality of life and it contributes to 300,000 deaths each year. The treatment of heart failure is a major challenge for drug and medical device development.

The following acute heart failure models are available:

  • heart failure induced by acute coronary occlusion
  • heart failure induced by acute coronary occlusion and reperfusion
  • heart failure induced by cardiotoxic agents

The following chronic heart failure models are available:

  • heart failure induced by permanent chronic coronary occlusion
  • chronic heart failure induced by coronary occlusion and reperfusion-induced infarction
  • heart failure induced by cardiotoxic agents
  • cardiotoxic agent-induced heart failure model
  • salt and volume overload-induced heart failure
  • transverse aortic constriction-induced heart failure
  • chronic pacing-induced heart failure


Endogenous cardioprotection, influence of the presence of risk factors:

“Ischemic preconditioning” is a well-described adaptive response in which brief exposure to ischemia markedly enhances the ability of the heart to withstand a subsequent ischemic injury. Moreover, brief cycles of ischemia/reperfusion applied following a longer period of ischemia also confer cardioprotection against the consequences of myocardial ischemia/reperfusion, a phenomenon called “ischemic postconditioning.” The discovery of these two major forms of endogenous cardioprotective mechanisms has encouraged the exploration of new ways to protect the ischemic/reperfused myocardium, but still has not led to a translation into clinical therapies.

Most experimental studies on cardioprotection have been undertaken with animal models, in which ischemia/reperfusion is imposed in the absence of other disease processes. However, ischemic heart disease in humans is a complex disorder caused by or associated with known cardiovascular risk factors, including hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, insulin resistance, atherosclerosis, and heart failure; additionally, ageing is an important moderating factor. In these conditions, the pathological processes are associated with fundamental molecular alterations that affect cardioprotective signalling in the myocardium. Therefore, to develop cardioprotective drugs, there is a critical need to study myocardial infarction in the presence of risk factors to maximize the likelihood of successfully developing rational approaches to therapeutic protection for the majority of patients with ischemic heart disease who are aged and/or have modifying comorbid conditions (Ferdinandy et al, Pharmacol Rev, 2007; Ovize et al, Cardiovascular Research, 2010).

The following endogenous cardioprotection models are available:

  • classic preconditioning models ex vivo and in vivo
  • delayed preconditioning models in vivo
  • postconditioning models ex vivo and in vivo
  • remote conditioning models

Cardioprotective drugs are tested in combined disease models: e.g. myocardial infarction and stroke with risk factors and co-morbidities such as hyperlipidemia and diabetes, and co-treated with widely used antihyperlipidemic or anti-anginal drugs.


What is hidden (latent, occult) cardiotoxicity™?

We have recently shown that some drugs may interfere with endogenous adaptation to ischemic stress. Interestingly, statins and nitrates may interfere with ischemic pre- and postconditioning. Unfortunately, the hidden (latent, occult) cardiotoxicity™ of drugs, i.e. inhibition of endogenous adaptive pathways, is rarely studied. This leads to a high failure rate of clinical trials due to cardiovascular safety reasons. Therefore, we encourage to study the hidden (latent, occult) cardiotoxic™ effect of all compounds in the early stages of the development.

Pharmahungary can test the hidden (latent, occult) cardiotoxic™ effects of your compunds. The following test systems are available:

  • interaction of the treatment with ischemia/reperfusion and cardioprotection by ischemic preconditioning
  • interaction of the treatment with ischemia/reprefusion and cardioprotection by ischemic postconditioning.