BioWorld International Correspondent

TEL AVIV, Israel — Optimata Ltd. has been contracted by Novartis Pharma AG to analyze the mechanism of action of a Novartis drug under development.

For this first commercial run, Tel Aviv- and Bene Ataroth-based Optimata, an Israeli biosimulation start-up, will apply its In Silico Patient, a set of proprietary mathematical algorithms and a family of computer models, in conjunction with clinical and preclinical data to assess the action mechanism of a new drug candidate, and to optimize drug dosage and scheduling.

Optimata Chairperson and Chief Scientist Zvia Agur called the agreement “a major milestone,” which is not only “a strong statement of support but also an opportunity to validate our technology through an innovative project for an acclaimed health care brand.”

“Optimizing drug dosages and scheduling can make the difference between a successful or failed clinical trial outcome, whether a patient will continue to take the drug or give it up due to side effects, and to eventually personalize medical treatments,” said Agur, who is president of the Israeli Society for Biomathematics and founder and CSO of the nonprofit Institute for Medical BioMathematics (IMBM).

The agreement generates an early revenue stream for the company, just one year after its incorporation. Optima abandoned its goal to raise $3 million in favor of the strategy to earn income from cooperation agreements with major companies. “The estimated market value of drug delivery companies needing cutting-edge technologies to validate their solutions will equal $24 billion in 2003,” Agur told BioWorld International.

IMBM, supported primarily by the Fifth RTD Program of the European Commission, established Optimata as a commercial arm and holding company for its intellectual property in 1999. The company has raised $1 million to date from private investors and is targeting blood diseases and cancer.