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Amphora doubles down to leverage IP and skills
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C.—Amphora Discovery Corp. is getting some new business—and becoming its own customer—with the formation of two stand-alone business units that are intended to leverage the company's intellectual property and proprietary expertise.
Based in Los Altos, Calif., the Amphora Pharmaceuticals Business Unit will focus on leveraging the company's high-value drug candidates and creating partnerships with key pharmaceutical and biotech companies.
Meanwhile, the Amphora Discovery Business Unit, which is based in Durham, N.C., will offer the company's drug discovery expertise through a contract research service.
"The strategic division of the company into two stand-alone business units will enable Amphora to fully realize the value of both its world-leading high-throughput drug discovery expertise and its very promising portfolio of drug candidates," says Peter Savas, Amphora's chairman and CEO. "We have constantly been asked to reproduce the demonstrated success of our in-house discovery program in a contract mode by both major pharma and biotech companies. This move will enable us to do just that, while at the same time retain focus on the continued development and out-licensing of our drug candidate portfolio."
"My unit is doing strictly contract work, and our sister business unit will be one of our customers," notes Bill Janzen, CTO and co-founder of Amphora—and now head of the Amphora Discovery Business Unit. "The Amphora Pharma Business Unit will be doing its own virtual development work, but when they need new targets or profiling or lead optimization results, we will provide that and can maintain the low cost basis that comes with being an integrated company."
Janzen could not comment on how many customers his business unit has right now, but he says they have "ongoing contracts with multiple commercial entities" and other potential drug discovery customers have expressed interest.
The only customer he could name publicly was CHDI, a non-profit biotech insitution that focuses on Huntington's disease and for which Amphora acts as the primary contract research organization.
Amphora's "industrialized approach" has led to the identification of numerous high-quality chemical series with unique selectivity profiles, Janzen says, delivering leads for Amphora's early discovery and lead optimization programs and forming the basis for the Amphora pharma unit's development and out-licensing opportunities.
"We will now be able to provide the assay design, high-throughput screening, compound profiling and IT platforms and expertise that we have built here to the rest of the industry as a unique, highly competitive set of contract discovery services," he says.