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FREMONT, Calif.—In a move to expand its drug discovery solutions portfolio, DiscoveRx Corp. has announced the acquisition of South San Francisco-based BioSeek, a drug discovery services company.
Formerly a part of Asterand, BioSeek makes use of human primary cell assays and predictive disease models in the discovery and development of therapeutics and "improves the success rate of drug discovery and development by integrating human biology from the earliest stages of drug discovery onward through its unique BioMAP platform."
As of Nov. 1, BioSeek became a division of DiscoveRx, and a press release on the transaction noted that both companies' management teams are working to ensure "a seamless transition during integration." Financial terms were not disclosed.
"The integration of BioSeek provides two new capabilities to DiscoveRx: Expertise in primary cell disease models, as well as a highly differentiated compound characterization service," said Pyare L. Khanna, president and CEO of DiscoveRx, in a statement. "These new capabilities further strengthen our position as a premier drug discovery solution provider that develops and commercializes high-value products and specialized services."
BioSeek's BioMAP platform, as described on its website, "is a drug discovery solution that delivers physiologically relevant insights about a compound prior to lengthy and expensive animal or clinical studies." The platform incorporates primary human cell-based disease models in order to produce predictive biological activity profiles for drug candidates, and helps to improve development success rates in pharmaceutical discovery. Compounds' activity profiles are compared to more than 3,000 reference profiles in the BioMAP Database, each of which were generated from a well-characterized pharmacologic agent. The platform provides "clinically relevant predictions about the molecular target, mechanism of action, off-target effects, toxicity, potency, pharmacodynamic properties and biomarkers" of compounds.
"BioSeek provides a very innovative solution for drug discovery companies that have advanced-stage compounds," says Sailaja Kuchibhatla, senior vice president of business development at DiscoveRx.
The BioMAP platforms, she adds, allows companies to address drug discovery issues such as clinical failures from lack of efficacy or unexpected toxicities, physiological relevance of compounds and animal models that are not predictive of human responses. In addition, the system allows for easier transition from screening to clinic, she notes, and enables biomarkers and patient classification to be addressed early on in the process.
DiscoveRx currently offers an "industry-leading menu of GPCR, kinase and now epigenetic assays," says Kuchibhatla, as well as "leading-edge solutions for assay development, lead ID and lead optimization." The acquisition will expand the company's portfolio by allowing them to offer phenotypic screening solutions in addition to their current repertoire of target-based screening solutions.
"DiscoveRx has continued to provide innovative solutions for drug discovery markets. Our PathHunter, HitHunter and KINOMEscan technologies and products have provided valuable information to researchers as they make key decisions regarding compounds and their progression in the development pipeline … With the BioMAP offering, we will start to provide valuable information on the potential toxicity profile of the compounds prior to the compounds entering into expensive animal trials," she adds.
As for the future of BioSeek's employees and facilities, Kuchibhatla notes that, "We retained the entire BioSeek team and the facilities as our objective was to ensure that BioSeek customers are serviced with virtually no interruption and business continues as normal."
"BioSeek has become an integral part of the pharmaceutical industry's drug discovery programs, and in joining DiscoveRx, it will gain the opportunity to expand the utility of BioMap technology platform even further," Jack Davis, chairman and CEO of Asterand, said in a press release regarding the deal.