Observation and monitoring of laboratory animals through Computer Vision

Industry

Biopharmaceuticals

Market

Global

Turnover

€34,3 billion

Number of employees

100 000+

Objective

 

Improvement of mice well-being and quality of scientific data generated in preclinical studies.

About Sanofi

 

Sanofi’s mission is to support people facing health problems. It is a global biopharmaceutical company specializing in human health that develops innovative treatment and prevention solutions for patients. Sanofi’s areas of expertise are oncology, immuno-inflammation, rare neurological and hematological diseases and vaccinology. Sanofi, with more than 100,000 employees in 100 countries, transforms scientific innovation into health solutions around the world.

CONTEXT

 

The study of animals in research remains an essential scientific practice for the time being, both in terms of drug efficacy and safety. Indeed, even if other methods are developing, studying animals is necessary to understand the origin of human pathologies, develop new therapies and meet regulatory requirements. Among these animals, the vast majority are rodents, and more particularly mice.

In vivo research is driven by ongoing ethical considerations and is governed by stringent regulations that ensure compliance with the 3Rs rule: Replace (use models other than the animal model when possible), Reduce (the number of animals tested) and Refine (minimize constraints, stress and pain). It is this third R that we are seeking to improve, and in particular the stated objective of “establishing appropriate limit points by mastering animal welfare assessment”. 

Our solution therefore aims to evaluate the well-being of mice in their laboratory environment. It will make it possible to detect changes in behavior that may be induced by a drug candidate or a pathology induced in the animal model. In genetically modified mice, the solution must meet the legal requirement of looking for any signs of altered animal welfare. 

 

CHALLENGE

 

As mice live at night, it is the ideal time to observe their behavior and identify changes in activity. However, at present, most experiments are carried out during the day, by short and repeated measurements or observations of a few minutes, by manipulating the mice out of their cage. Due to the human work rhythm, the information obtained in the studies is partial and imperfect: the change in environment induces a high level of stress in mice, which can in fact bias behavioral observation.

 

SOLUTION

 

Thanks to computer vision, it is possible to automatically analyze the behavior of certain mice even when they are housed in a group in their own hosting cage:

  • detection of mouse activity or immobility periods with tracking technology 
  • detection of time spent drinking and eating

 

These detected durations are reported in the form of graphs that researchers can analyze the next morning to verify the achievement of study objectives and adjust protocols based on these observations. 

 

Detection on infrared recordings in mouse cages. 

Analytics dashboard based on mice recordings results.

“By improving the quality of our mouse observation processes, Deepomatic’s solution allows us to extract valuable information to better assess the well-being of the mice used in research. After this pilot phase, using image recognition with Deepomatic will ensure our compliance with regulations around in vivo research and could be used for other purposes at Sanofi.”

Pierre Lainée

Head of In Vivo Research Center FRANCE , Sanofi

BENEFITS

 

  • Extraction of additional information on mouse welfare
  • Faster detection of impacts on mouse well-being: in case of deterioration of the general condition of the mice, the diagnosis can be made faster 
  • Increased confidence in the evaluation of mouse well-being

The Deepomatic solution opens a wide range of applications that can be used to analyze other animal behaviors, other types of studies or for other test laboratories working in the same fields of activity (preclinical pharmacology and toxicology).