Developing a new drug from original idea to the launch of a finished product is a complex process that can take 12-15 years and cost over $1 billion. Initial research generates data to determine whether the inhibition or activation of a protein or pathway will result in a therapeutic effect. The outcome of the research is the selection of a target that often require further validation in order to justify a drug discovery effort. An intensive search begin to find a drug candidate that will progress into commercial development. However, it can take up to 6 years to build up the needed evidence to support a new drug candidate that will progress into preclinical, and if successful into clinical development.
The startup twoXAR has developed a method to significantly reduce the time needed to find a new drug candidate. The company’s cloud-based solution, DUMA Drug Discovery Platform, use big data and patent-pending algorithms to evaluate large public and proprietary datasets to identify and assess high probability drug candidates. It not only reduce the time needed to find new drug candidates for specific diseases, but are also able to repurpose excisting therapeutics by assessing their efficacy.
In order to find association between drug and disease, The DUMA Drug Discovery platform goes through four distinct stages; biological data extraction, automated model generation, feature identification, and candidate analysis. According to the company’s website, they are able to process datasets of any size within minutes, and the model works with any disease using gene expression, protein-interaction, chemical structure, mechanism of action or clinical data. The entire process takes less than six months to complete, and the predictions are summarized in an easy-to-read PDF report.
The algorithms were developed by Andrew A. Radin, who founded the company together with Andrew M. Radin, a former venture capital and private equity investor. Whether the innovative technology is used to cross-validate clinical research, repurpose existing drugs, or identify novel drug candidates for further clinical testing, the vision of twoXAR is clear. They are working to lower the cost of drug discovery and accelerate the delivery of more effective therapies to patients fighting both rare and common illnesses. Lowering the costs and speeding up the process, will hopefully also affect the cost of the potential marketed drug.
The Palo Alto, CA-based startup has gained much attention and recently received a $3.4 million seed round from Andreessen Horowitz, joining the existing investors CLI Ventures and the Stanford StartX Fund. The funding is being used to develop partnerships that focus on drug candidates for metabolic and neurological diseases.