Woodland News & Events (Go to PR page)

February 2018

Woodland President Michael Briggs is an invited speaker at the Biomarker Research in Clinical Medicine in Paris Feb. 19-21, 2018
Click to view Program

October 2017

Woodland is co-authors on two NASH posters at 2017 AASLD in Washington, D.C.  Posters available on request. 

September 2017

Woodland President Michael Briggs is an invited speaker at the 6th European Conference on Predictive, Preventive and Personalized Medicine & Molecular Diagnostics, to be held in Edinburgh, Scotland on September 14. 

April 2017
Woodland announces award of STTR phase 1 grant from NCI with co-applicant Dr. Dan Duda of MGH to capture, bank and characterize HCC tumors in Boston from American liver cancer patients.
 (read full press release here)   

May 2016

Catabasis Pharmaceuticals presented a poster for a NASH therapy at Digestive Disease Week in San Diego for work done with Woodland. (Link to Catabasis press release)

Ask us about DMPK & safety pharmacology:

- Pharmacokinetics

​- Tolerability

- Necropsy services for

Services - Oncology:  Xenografts & Syngeneic Models

Woodland has a cell bank of over 300 human cancer cell lines in 22 indications.  We offer flank xenografts, orthotopic models, metastasis models and syngeneic models for immuno-oncology studies.   Alliances are in-progress to access select human primary tumors for PDX modeling.   Our strengths are in liver, pancreas, colon, brain, lung and breast cancer models.  Please ask us about adopting and validating your favorite academic model.  Inquiries for combination efficacy PK/PD are welcomed, with LC-MS bioanalytical services provided by NEPN partner NovaBioassays of Woburn, whose expertise includes protein and oligo analysis in addition to small molecules.

Woodland has introduced chemical insult liver fibrosis models to our expanding liver disease portfolio.  Shown below is a comprehensive study of excipients/carriers for our carbon tetrachloride liver fibrosis model, with IP dosing schedules.  Our fibrosis scoring for the CCl4 model is slightly different than the standard "Brunt" fibrosis scoring, with a descriptive analysis of both portal fibrosis (the commonly scored fibrosis measure) as well as pericellular fibrosis (the more diffuse and expansive network of fibrosis) indicative of more extensive ongoing disease process.

In addition to the CCl4 models shown, we also have a thioacetamide (TAA) chemical insult model in both mouse and rats, with dosing either IP or in the drinking water.  Please inquire for more information.

Highlighted Orthotopic Model:  4T1 Breast Cancer for Immuno-oncology and Metastasis Studies

"The 4T1 mammary carcinoma is a transplantable tumor cell line that is highly tumorigenic and invasive and, unlike most tumor models, can spontaneously metastasize from the primary tumor in the mammary gland to multiple distant sites including lymph nodes, blood, liver, lung, brain, and bone."  from  Pulaski BA, Ostrand-Rosenberg S. Mouse 4T1 breast tumor model.  2001.   Woodland has validated this 4T1 model for lung metastasis.  

New CCl4 Liver Fibrosis Models

Northeast Preclinical Network - NEPN

NEPN Members

  • ​Affiliated partner companies

Highlighted Cancer Cell Line:  MHCC97H for Aggressive HCC and Metastasis Studies

MHCC97H is a highly metastatic hepatocellular carcinoma derived from a chinese patient.  It is useful for HCC flank or orthotopic xenografts, and also flank to liver metastasis studies, with Woodland studies shown here.  The black arrow shows the metastatic colony in a liver histology slide while the red arrow shows a blood vessel. The cell line grows aggressively in vivo, with a typical Woodland growth curve of MHCC97H shown here.  Academic literature supports MHCC97H as useful for in vitro invasion assays.

Woodland has a large portfolio of regular flank xenografts:

  • >330 human cancer cell lines
  • 22 cancer indications

*Digital image analyses by Reveal Biosciences www.revealbiosciences.com

Click here to jump to oncology service details below

Other Liver Injury Models:

- CCl4

- Thioacetamide

Inflammation and the Tumor Microenvironment 

Woodland has begun to study the tumor cell - stroma interactions in the highly fibrotic cancers of the pancreas (desmoplastic) by looking at the secreted cytokines in pancreatic cancer (PDAC). 


Diet-driven Mouse Models of Liver Disease:

- Diet-induced obesity (DIO)

- Steatosis


Woodland has partnered with Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in a 2017 STTR grant to collect up to 30 PDX HCC tumors. 

In addition, we source primary patient tumors from both NDRI
​and CHTN.

Woodland in vitro work is partnered with SBH Sciences, Inc., one of our NEPN partners.  www.sbhsciences.com

Growth curves shown for four cell lines:

  • H-1650 colon cancer 
  • CAPAN-1 pancreatic cancer 
  • A-549 lung cancer 
  • U-87MG brain cancer 

Please ask us about pancreatitis models.  We seek a co-developer to support optimization, validation and characterization of a diet+chemical insult-driven pancreatitis model of our own design.  We will adopt the academically developed cerulein pancreatitis model for a first customer willing to support the model validation, based on published protocols.

Liver disease is a progressive diseasewith multiple pathways to inflammatory damage.  Disease intervention points exists in early, fatty liver stage with steatosis / liver lipids modulators, mid-stage where inflammatory processes are injuring the liver exemplified by cytokine perturbances and liver injury markers (AST/ALT) and late-stage disease in which the stellate cell activation and involvement of MMPs and TIMPs are remodeling the liver. Test your hypothesis in our model.

3D Cultures, in vitro

- Inhibition of tumor growth

- Inhibition of dispersal / spreading

​- Inhibition of invasion

- Radiation biology - protection and
   sensitization assays are available

​Woodland Biosciences Preclinical Services

About Woodland Biosciences

​Founder, President & CSO

Michael R. Briggs, PhD

Mike Briggs has a long career in small molecule discovery and development. In the past few years, Mike was pivotal in establishing the early primary human tumor banks in China, and his thoughts on the discrepancy between tumors that kill and tumors that find their way into tumor banks evolved into Woodland. Mike spent 8 years as the Senior Director of Biology at Vertex, and before that he was a Director and Head of Functional Genomics at the Pfizer/Pharmacia St. Louis site and also directed groups at SmithKline Beecham and Ligand Pharmaceuticals. Mike did his postdoctoral fellowship with the Nobel Laureates Drs. Michael Brown and Joseph Goldstein at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center where he and a team co-led by Dr. Xiaodong Wang discovered the sterol regulatory element binding proteins that control LDL receptor modulation of cholesterol in animals and man.  Mike was an EMBO Fellow in Switzerland in the Hafen Lab, a PhD student with Dr. Robert Tjian, Professor of Biochemistry at UC Berkeley and obtained his BA in Biology from the University of Delaware.​ He has more than 40 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters and 4 US patents.

Co-founder of Woodland, VP In Vitro Biology
Raphael Nir, PhD

Dr. Nir is an entrepreneur and scientist with over 25 years of experience commercializing biological production, cell-based assays and biomarkers analysis. He received his BS (Chemistry; 1982), MS (Biochemistry ; 1984) and PhD from Tel-Aviv University (Biotechnology; 1990) and Master in Management (1997; NJIT). Raphael spent 7 years at Schering-Plough in the biotechnology process development group. Since 1997, Dr. Nir has served as the president and CSO of SBH Sciences where he manages all of the company’s R&D activities.  Dr. Nir is also the Co-Founder of another 4 biotech companies including Karyopharm Therapeutics, Galectin Sciences, SBH Diagnostics, and Alma Bio Therapeutics.

Director of Laboratory Operations:

Nikole Siegmund B.S., LAT
Nikole Siegmund is our lab point person managing the day-to-day activities of our busy lab with more than 10 studies ongoing at any given time.  She is LAT-certified by AALAS and has over 12 years experience at Charles River Laboratories with her last position being a Team Leader for research.  Along with her team of key lab people, there is over 60 years of CRO and pharmaceutical company experience in our laboratory staff. While almost all of our studies are in mice and rats, the team has extensive experience in large animal studies including dog and monkey.  

Research Director:

Dipti Deshpande, Ph.D.

Dr. Deshpande rejoined Woodland in February 2017 after a successful postdoc at M.D. Anderson where she extended her academic experience in both liver metabolic disease and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) research. Her responsibility as the Research Director includes all aspects of Woodland liver diseases as well as assisting with our oncology models and development.

Marketing, Sales & Business Development:  NavigatorBio
Thomas Ryan, CEO

Woodland Biosciences Preclinical Services is a contract research organization (CRO) offering in vivo services for the study of metabolic diseases and oncology.  We are located in Massachusetts, Boston metrowest, with laboratories at the Tufts Veterinary School in Grafton.

Woodland Biosciences, 200 Westboro Rd., Bldg 21, N. Grafton, MA 01536

NASH/Fibrosis/Fatty Liver Disease

Woodland Biosciences is a premier strategic partner to drug developers with liver-targeted therapies, such as for NASH, fibrosis, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and metastatic cancers. We now offer this model in Canada as well as U.S.  See validation data below.


For drug developers of cancer therapies, Woodland Biosciences also offers a wide range of cell-line based xenografts, including for lung, colon, pancreas, brain and breast cancers.  See examples below.  SBH Sciences is a key partner for in vitro studies and biomarkers.

Through alliances and partnerships with other CRO specialists in the Northeast Preclinical Network (NEPN.net), Woodland offers integrated discovery and preclinical services.  This network and the deep experience of drug development that it taps are especially valued by startups.  Please contact us to find out if we can help you.

4T1 - breast
UNKC-6141 - pancreatic
B16F10 - melanoma
Renca - kidney
CT26 - colon
​Lewis Lung Carcinoma - lung

In-house pancreatic cancer cell lines studied for cytokine secretion:  HPAC, Patu8988T, Panc-1, Paca-2, Panc-10.05, Patu8902, L3.6PL, HPAFII, PL-45, Capan1. Cytokines VEGF, IL-8, IL-1alpha, INFalpha2, IL-15 by Luminex. Conditioned media sampled at 6, 10 and 13 days after plating. 

Please fill out a form or call our sales line to discuss your preclinical needs:



Or send an email directly to mbriggs {at} woodlandpharma.com

​​​Woodland is optimizing a third-hit protocol able to induce fibros is in female mice, an industry exclusive.  Other female "NASH" models reported in literature are merely steatosis models, lacking fibrotic pathology.   Please inquire.

​​​Services - Metabolic diseases: Obesity, Fatty Liver Disease and NASH

Mouse male NASH model:  Following industry standard protocols, Woodland establishes liver disease in male mice with an acute chemical insult in neonatal pups followed by chronic insult to the liver by adding a high fat, high fructose diet (HFD) selected to give enhanced steatosis and inflammation.  Ultimately, stellate cell/myofibroblast activation and immune infiltration leads to tissue injury and repair, resulting in the collagen deposition characteristic of NASH.

Woodland's portfolio of syngeneic models for immuno-oncology studies:

In addition to the longer term NASH studies, and based on our extensive experience in metabolic disease, Woodland is also offering Diet-Induced Obesity studies (DIO) for therapeutic intervention in the earlier stages of fat/lipids deposition in the liver and adipose tissues.  These studies may be acute or chronic and may be considered a precursor to the longer NASH studies if the drug target affects earlier targets in the process.

Woodland performs a standard two-hit model, with fibrosis being mild to moderate.  Woodland is working to exacerbate the disease in the male model with multiple liver insults.  Our model has been optimized to evaluate drug targets impinging on fat deposition (steatosis) , inflammation and directly on fibrosis and its reversal.  Scoring is available by pathologist or by digital analysis*.

Insulin sensitizers work effectively in our model which is insulin-insufficient and NOT a strict Type 1 diabetes model as is sometimes referred to in the literature.  Please inquire if you have questions, or would like to see data (2017 AASLD poster with Zafgen).

Click here to jump to NASH service details below


*Woodland Translational Research Canada, Inc. is hosted at the AAALAC-accredited facilities of CNBE-INRS in Laval, just west of Montreal, Quebec

Lewis Lung Carcinoma

The 3LL cell line is highly tumorigenic, but weakly metastatic, in C57black6, immune-competent mice.  3LL is the only reliable syngeneic lung cancer model available.  The model is somewhat prone to ulceration, requiring larger cohort sizes to account for animals culled early. Link here  for morphological characterization.

CT26 Colorectal Carcinoma

The mouse CT26 cell line grows aggressively and is one of the most widely used models for immuno-oncology studies.  It has been reported to have a KRAS mutation and also to be responsive to pro-inflammatory T cell activation.

The standard model runs for 9wks on HFD, with incidence of dysplasia leading to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) evident after 12wks of HFD.

Cell lines compatible with immune-competent mice (C57black6 and Balb/c).

Liver metastasis from MHCC97H flank xenograft