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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"With our technology, we never find the compound we found before, and given that around 1 in 200 molecules become clinical candidates, we can really ramp up programs to push those novel entities into therapeutic models." — nathan magarvey ONTARIO microBiome adapsyn's technology allows them to survey genomes of microorganisms, numbering over a hundred thousand to date, and rapidly pinpoint novel chemistries. With this pace of discovery, the company has seen a flourish of interest from many pharmaceutical companies. does better than anyone is translating genes to proteins to small molecules. Those evolved small molecules are highly valuable against a whole spectrum of hu- man therapeutic drug targets and can be particularly useful as anti-infective and immunomodulatory agents. Adapsyn is able to translate the gene sequence di- rectly to the small molecule structure, and can in turn determine which structures are new and which ones are old, all from the genome sequences that we have. We can then predict from that data which ones do new things and which ones do things we have seen before from known compounds." This is really at the heart of the machine learning and AI that the company uses to inform its wet lab activities – namely, pu- rifying and testing novel molecular entities for therapeutic potential. The company has created a data set of all-natural prod- ucts discovered to date, and uses this to relate predicted novel compounds to past discoveries, thereby allowing the company to infer potential uses of newly discovered natural products. "For a long time, we would focus on microbes and plant sources. But the chal- lenge with that, by modern day standards you are a prisoner of the past. All the molecules that were identified previously, if you use old methodologies, you end up discovering the same molecules that you previously found. With our technology, we never find the compound we found before, and given that around 1 in 200 molecules become clinical candidates, we can really ramp up programs to push those novel entities into therapeutic models," says Magarvey. Adapsyn's technology allows them to survey genomes of microorganisms, num- bering over a hundred thousand to date, and rapidly pinpoint novel chemistries. With this pace of discovery, the company has seen a flourish of interest from many pharmaceutical companies. While some companies have enormous depositories of biological material from which to screen, they are inadequately-equipped to rapidly assess their chemical novelty. Adapsyn has proven they possess the technological platforms necessary to unlock this po- tential. "This is high science. This is a merger of chemistry, microbiology, genomics, and computer science," says Magarvey. "Can- ada does well in certain elements of each field. The Canadian research community is also recognized for its creativity in the connection disparate research fields. Adapsyn is an exemplary showcase of this creativity and scientific translation. Striv- ing to address the unmet medical need is where we can make a transformative impact on Canada and globally." "It's fascinating for us to appreciate now all the medicines that are left in nature that are awaiting discovery to ad- dress more complex diseases," comments Magarvey. "We don't appreciate this in society, but a lot of our medicines – not just your holistic things – but medicines that we take are actually derived from liv- ing creatures on the planet. With our new technology, we can sort through all that information so rapidly, that now we see all these new opportunities." Drug discovery can be a long, complex and expensive process, but with Ada- psyn's technology, it could take less time from bench to the bedside. "We're getting better and better at dis- cerning the molecular targets of those pre- dicted molecules by using deep learning," Magarvey says. "That's really important, because obviously you have to be able to quickly identify what the molecular targets would be of molecules and their value as therapeutic entities. So, we're using cell- based, high-content screening, in com- bination with our predictions, and deep learning is having a big role in elucidating the mechanisms of action of these novel compounds." Adapsyn Bioscience is altering the drug discovery landscape, combining genomic and metabolomic data with AI and ma- chine learning. Their unique approach will help fuel the future of natural prod- ucts research, ultimately leading to the development of new pharmaceuticals that will impact global healthcare and address the treatment of diseases that currently lack effective therapies. To see this story online visit https://biotechnologyfocus.ca/ going-deep-into-the-human- microbiome-with-adapsyn- bioscience/ 24 Biotechnology Focus June/July 2018

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