Biotechnology Focus

Bio JuneJuly_2018

Biotechnology Focus is Canada's leading authority on Canada's life science news. From biopharma and healthcare to ag-bio and clean tech, our readership includes life science professionals, C-level executives and researchers.

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ONTARIO microBiome adapsyn Bioscience GOInG DEEP IntO thE humAn mICrObIOmE WIth By michelle currie A dapsyn Bioscience, a spinout company from McMaster Uni- versity, mines the landscape of highly-evolved small molecules from microorganisms to uncover a diverse portfolio of novel drugs to treat a wide spectrum of diseases. Adapsyn was incor- porated in 2016, and soon after its incep- tion drew the attention of pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, entering into a collaboration to accelerate their drug discovery efforts. The company now has 12 full-time em- ployees, in addition to several others who are on a part-time or contract basis. "I'm one of those Canadians that was in the U.S. for a long time, and then decided to come back to Canada," says Adapsyn founder, president & CSO, Nathan Magar- vey. "I came back with aspirations of set- ting up a company to engage in research here rather than the U.S. Adapsyn was a growing body of work that was estab- lished from my research lab, and the lab was increasingly taking on industrial work. It started getting a bit too much for an academic lab, so that's when I said it's probably time to spin out and make it grow. Building a start-up is an experi- ence unto itself, and something I always wanted to do." Subsequent to the research deal for- malized with Pfizer, the company raised venture capital from Genesys Capital in Toronto, a mainstay in the Canadian bio- tech sector, and Pfizer Ventures out of the U.S. The company strengthened its board of directors by adding representatives from these firms and additional industry experts. "The microbiome is increasingly a focus for the company," says Magarvey. "We've been engaged in the microbes of the planet and sifting through those genomes to identify molecules. What Adapsyn In the modern world, artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning have helped to accelerate important advancements in technology across a wide-range of industries, with the biotechnology sector being a prime example of such transfor- mative applications. In Hamilton, Ontario, one biotech company is harnessing the power of deep learning and AI to accelerate the discovery of new pharmaceuticals from microorganisms found in nature and even the human body. Biotechnology Focus / June/July 2018 23

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