By Matthew Willett

Admetric BioChem Inc. has big plans, and with the appointment of a new CEO it has set a path to take its ADMET screening technology to the next level.

The Medford, Mass., company's technology, Membrane Affinity Fingerprinting, is designed to determine the relative affinity of compounds to specific cell membrane lipids, and those unique patterns, or fingerprints, enable the company to quickly and reliably screen compounds for pharmacology and ADMET (absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion and toxicology).

That technology was developed by company founder Charles Pidgeon.

The aim now, company officials said, is to get the company, founded in 1999, out of the development stage and into screening on a large scale. Newly tapped CEO Anthony Laughrey said Admetric can offer pure and wide-ranging in silico screening.

"There are a number of ADMET companies offering rapid screening of individual ADMET parameters like metabolism or absorption," Laughrey told BioWorld Today. "These companies have, to some extent, muddled these individual parameters so that they can make the claim that they can do some of this in silico. However, we're the only one that can provide complete ADMET profiling with a single assay."

Admetrics focuses, he said, on hit-to-lead discovery. "We take a library, select hits and structurally optimize the hits around pharmacokinetic parameters until you can identify a lead ready for animal testing," he said.

Fee-for-service testing, he said, should be ready for launch in a few months. That will bolster both Admetric's bottom line, and, he said, benefit big pharma and contract research organization clients.

"I think the future with our in silico technology platform for lead discovery is that we can substantially reduce the cost and time involved with lead discovery and lead optimization by doing much of the work in a virtual laboratory," he said. "In the long term, the market has been able to benefit in its efforts in lead discovery by empowering the medicinal chemist to direct his hit selection and structural optimization of leads, shortening the time and drastically reducing the cost of the process."

The privately held company in November entered an agreement with SmithKline Beecham plc (now GlaxoSmithKline), of London, for development and evaluation of Admetric's technology. Admetric will profile up to 125 compounds using its Membrane Affinity Fingerprinting technology.

And beyond a clientele of drug researchers, he said, developing its own therapeutic pipeline isn't out of the question.

"This technology obviously allows us to develop leads of our own for our own account," he said. "That's the front door for drug discovery. That is an option that our technology allows us to consider." n