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Flying high in the cloud
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C.—Cloud Pharmaceuticals Inc. has launched a novel, more powerful wave of cloud-based drug design and development, targeted toward discovering new and more effective treatments to combat cancer, central nervous system problems and heart disease faster, better, stronger than ever before—and at a lower cost.
Cloud Pharmaceuticals is on the “leading edge of the new design,” Ed Addison, co-founder and CEO, tells DDNews. “Ten years from now, we won’t be scratching at trees and frogs … searching for molecules by trial and error. Long-term, we expect to completely disrupt HTS (high-throughput screening) as a technology, and we expect to offer preemptive drug discovery by ‘crawling’ the entire human proteome, virome and cancerome.”
“Our next steps are to continue to build partnerships at all stages of drug development, including early-stage, preclinical, IND and the clinic,” he adds. “We are also focused on developing our product pipeline which is a platform and management methodology that strings together multiple vendors and contract research organizations to efficiently discover, design and develop new drugs.”
Cloud Pharmaceuticals has brought together an array of partners for collaborative drug discovery and development, he says, adding that together with its Quantum Molecular Design (QMD) technology, this approach provides a path for efficient development of novel drugs.
“We expect to close a $10-million round of financing in the next several months, for which there are multiple institutional investors showing keen interest,” Addison said Feb.17 in a news release. “We expect to launch internal drug programs for thrombosis and rheumatoid arthritis imminently. And we are expecting a big multi-party oncology development partnership in the next few weeks.”
“Drug discovery is currently a costly and time-consuming process using trial-and-error methods that yield few marketable drugs,” Addison tells DDNews. “Pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies are under enormous pressure to lower the high cost of R&D and improve upon poor results as measured by FDA drug approvals. Our application of cloud computing, combined with artificial intelligence technology, enables computational chemistry processes to identify compounds that are better suited for development from the outset.”
He says his company’s QMD process designs compounds that inhibit the activity of protein targets, which are produced by the genes responsible for certain pathologies, adding, “Selecting compounds with a higher probability of success then acts as a lever to reduce overall cost ... Our goal is to not only reduce cost and improve speed, it’s about producing much-improved compounds that have a high probability of success at becoming safe, effective and marketable drugs.”
“We use the public and private cloud as our supercomputer, often utilizing over 5,000 simultaneous machines to execute a QMD drug design or optimization,” Addison adds. “Our cloud-based design processes combine high-performance cloud computing, the best binding affinity algorithm for the particular target class and molecule type.”
QMD has been developed for challenging, hard-to-drug targets, and reportedly it can be applied to kinases, receptors, GPCRs, enzymes and nuclear targets.
“Our strategy is to work with organizations to jointly design new drugs, and then partner with later-stage developers. The results we’ve achieved demonstrate that our process is working and resulting in low-cost, high-value molecules,” Addison says.