OmniScience Pharmaceuticals Inc. entered into a research collaboration with Ibis Therapeutics for the discovery and development of new compounds.
“We’re going to use [our technologies] and provide libraries or individual compounds, and Ibis will do the screening and consequent development,” said Michael Chaparian, president and chief scientific officer at Tempe, Ariz.-based OmniScience.
OmniScience’s two main technologies Directed Discovery, a molecular diversity platform, and ComGene, a combinatorial genetics platform will be included in the collaboration.
The libraries will be made at OmniScience’s site, and the remainder of the work will be completed at Ibis, a division of Isis Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Carlsbad, Calif.
OmniScience will receive an up-front payment, will seek potential milestone payments and would receive royalties on any product sales. Other financial terms were not disclosed.
OmniScience was founded by Chaparian in 1998 and has grown to eight employees. It has raised about $2 million since its inception and is in discussions with several potential investors concerning its Series A funding. The deal with Ibis is advancing the company on a positive course, Chaparian said.
“It’s one critical piece of the entire puzzle that helps us grow, and it provides validation for our technology in the marketplace as a valuable tool for the generation of novel compounds,” Chaparian said.
Chaparian said he is talking to other potential collaborators, and expects to announce more agreements within the next year.
OmniScience’s Directed Discovery technology is based on applied biosynthesis. The ComGene technology facilitates the substitution of genes and enzymes into biosynthetic enzyme arrays, resulting in combinatorial array of almost any matrix dimension. Molecular libraries are then produced, allowing for the production of structural chemotypes. It’s all based on the biocatalytic production of small molecules, which typically involves a biosynthetic enzyme array. By substituting one or more similar enzymes into such an array, it can lead to compounds.
The company also has an internal drug discovery program focused on anti-infective, anticancer and cardiovascular therapeutics. Using its technologies combined with bioinformatics and genomics, OmniScience is building a preclinical pipeline based on compounds, including aminoglycosides, polyketides, lactams, glycosides, terpenes and antimetabolites.
Privately held OmniScience’s DART program is used to predict and characterize the molecular and physiological mechanisms of antibiotic resistance prior to clinical emergence. It is also useful for the discovery of drug targets, Chaparian said, with the premier application being for a mechanism-based antibiotic when the target is not known.
Chaparian said that with the company’s proven technologies, it is ready to fulfill its overriding goal of drug discovery.
“Based upon having developed these platforms, we are now ready to move into truly lead-compound development,” Chaparian said, adding that the more partnerships OmniScience forms, the better its chances are of moving into the clinic and having successful outcomes.