Hearing loss is a major global health concern that will affect 2.5 billion people by 2050. Such condition is often caused by medications, indeed more than 200 therapies currently on the market are known to be ototoxic.

OTOTOX is designed to screen compounds preventing ototoxicity and to investigate their mechanism of action with a fast and high-throughput approach. The platform can also be employed to exclude ototoxic side-effects of candidate drugs.

Our licensed otic cell line (HEI-OC1, licence to our partner CILCare) faithfully reproduces the inner ear and, as the latter, it is highly susceptible to antibiotics and chemotherapeutics such as cisplatin.


a brief review of our platform

Compounds Screening

OTOTOX represents a unique asset that can be employed to identify ototoxic drugs which decrease otic cell viability (as cisplatin – A, B), and to screen otoprotective compounds, rescuing cisplatin-induced cytotoxicity(as N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC) - B, C).


  • Viability
  • Cytotoxicity
  • ROS production

Compounds Characterization

OTOTOX is a valuable tool to investigate the mechanism of action of ototoxic and otoprotective compounds, with a variety of complimentary readouts (as NAC - A, B).

  • Viability
  • Cytotoxicity
  • ROS production
  • Apoptosis vs Necrosis
  • Caspase 3/7 activation
  • Caspase 8 activation
  • Intracellular Ca++ increase
  • Morphological alterations
  • Cytokine production
  • Transcriptomics analysis