AbstractA young Finnish University spin-off company offers an alternative approach for drug development which diminishes the need for expensive laboratory work. The method is based on scientifically verified mathematical computer models of cell function. Partners involved in drug discovery are sought for technical co-operation.
DetailsDrug development is very expensive due to the large amount of costly laboratory work needed to first find the drug targets and then design molecules to interact with them. This is followed by exhaustive test of the effectiveness and possible side effects of the molecule in cell and animal models. A young Finnish University spin-off company offers a method to increase the efficiency and reduce the cost of drug development, based on computer simulations of mathematical cell models.
Mathematical cell models used by the Company describe the most recent scientific conception of the function of living cells. The models are constructed and validated based on data acquired from the living cells. Computer simulations of these models are used in the beginning of drug development to estimate the effect of possible drug targets and to predict the final outcome of drug development processes. Based on simulations larger amount of highly potential drug targets can be defined for further development.
Mathematical cell models can be used when solving the following tasks:
1) Finding the mechanism causing the disease. By applying different modifications to the properties of the model cell, such as the amount or altered function of certain proteins, the Company can explore and find the mechanisms and modifications which cause the pathological function of the cells.
2) Finding the drug targets to cure the disease. When the mechanisms behind the disease are discovered, they can be readily implemented to the mathematical model. With this kind of modified model, interventions at the level of individual proteins can be simulated in order to find the best cellular targets for future drugs.
3) Testing the side and combinatory effects of drugs. The Company can simulate the combinatory effects of many drugs with known targets by implementing the individual effects of these drugs to the mathematical cell model. The simulations can be used to predict the concerted effect of the new drug target with currently used drugs.
Services are always designed to match the individual needs of each partner, whether it is a stand-alone computer program which includes a certain cell model that the customer can use for their own simulations, or fully analyzed results from simulations. The Company has special expertise in cardiac related projects, but it is also interested to widen the service range to other cell and tissue types.
Services are based on computer simulations, which can reduce the amount laboratory work, labour, and cost of drug development significantly. If, for example, a pharmaceutical company has 20 possible drug targets, according to the traditional approach they would have to develop at least 20 different drug molecules to test these targets. Altogether this would require at least 20 long and expensive molecule developments and 20 series of testing with expensive cell and animal models. By using simulations, possible targets and the effects of various ways of modulating can be pre-tested. The targets which are likely to fail can be discarded from further expensive laboratory tests. This means resources can be allocated for more successful development projects. Limiting the number of targets early during the development process, e.g. from 20 to 5 would reduce the developing costs by ~70%.