Looking Forward to Pharma's Decade of Predictive Efficacy
This article was originally published in Start Up
Drug developers can now tap into an array of new preclinical technologies including some that give them the ability to interrogate compounds in a broad biological context-a systems biology approach. In this issue, we profile four start-ups with technologies designed to predict drugs' efficacy: Champions Biotechnology, Cytox, Immuneering and Rhenovia.
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BioLeap LLC hopes to be part of the solution to Big Pharma's pipeline problem. Its computational technology for identifying and optimizing lead compounds focuses on the free energy of binding, which represents an enormous computational problem. But the developers of BioLeap's technology have created an industrial process that makes such calculations feasible in a reasonably fast time frame.
Champions Biotechnology Inc.'s preclinical screening technology uses xenografts that it creates by implanting primary human cancer tumors into immune-deficient mice. The tumor cells are never passaged in cell tissue culture and therefore maintain the fundamental genotypic features of the original cancer because the risk of mutations through successive generations in culture is eliminated. The company has signed preclinical screening deals with a number of partners and it's also building its own therapeutic pipeline.
Rhenovia Pharma SAS believes it can help companies looking to improve existing Alzheimer's disease therapies by using computational models of the brain to identify chemical combinations capable of positively impacting disease symptoms. The start-up aims to build a service-based business running its specialized "biosimulations" on compounds that other companies currently market, have in development or have previously rejected for lack of efficacy.