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Developing a novel platform for rapid identification of drug targets and anti-targets

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 1R41TR002293-01A1
Agency Tracking Number: R41TR002293
Amount: $224,804.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: NCATS
Solicitation Number: PA17-303
Solicitation Year: 2017
Award Year: 2018
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2018-04-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2019-09-30
Small Business Information
Miami, FL 33133-4516
United States
DUNS: 080522503
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 (866) 991-9132
Business Contact
Phone: (305) 772-1016
Research Institution
CORAL GABLES, FL 33146-2926
United States

 Nonprofit College or University

Drugs act by altering the activities of particular componentstargetswithin a cell or organismThusdrug discovery campaigns begin by identifying a targetfollowed by screening this target
with compounds to identify leads that can be developed into a drugUnfortunatelyidentifying
effective drug targets for a given diseaselet alone for individual patientse gin highly
heterogeneous cancersis an expensivetime consumingand error prone processAs a resultdrugs are frequently developed against incorrect or suboptimal targetsand end up showing no
clinical efficacyPowerful genomic technologies have paved the way for much of the modern
understanding of molecular biologybut they have not proven efficient at identifying drug targetsPhenotypic screeningwhich identifies efficacious drugs by screening compounds directly on
cellshas thus regained popularityIn phenotypic screeninghoweverthe targets are typically
unknownWe are developing an innovative biotechnology platform that directly identifies effective
pharmacological targets from cellular disease models by combining the two approachestargetbased and phenotypic based screeningThis is accomplished with the use of a highly annotated
chemical library and sophisticated machine learning algorithmsThe compounds are screened
in a cell based assayand the phenotypic readouts are analyzed in relation to the compoundsbiochemical activitiesrevealing the candidate targets that are mediating the therapeutic activity
of effective compoundsThis approach can one day be applied at the patient levelfor example
using patient derived cancer cellsWe have focused our proof of concept studies on the kinase
family of drug targetsand hypothesize that our platform can identify kinase dependencies in
cancer cells that cannot otherwise be identified using transcriptomic and whole exome
sequencing dataThe aims of this Phase I application are todeploy our platform to identify
novel kinase targets in DLBCL Lymphomaandidentify kinase inhibitors that could be used to
build a compound library that optimizes the performance of the platformInnovative features of
the platform include the combination of targetand phenotypic based screeningthe machine
learning algorithm that efficiently detects targets as well as anti targetsthe cell based screening
strategy which uses both tumor and normal cells to detect cancer specific cytotoxicityand the
unique design features of the compound libraryThe platform will enable rapid target identification
in any area of disease where a clinically relevant cell based model exists PROJECT NARRATIVE
Over the past two decadesthe cost of developing new drugs has skyrocketedA major culprit is
the difficulty in identifying cellular components that can be engaged by drugs to produce a
therapeutic effectThis proposal has two main aimsThe first aim is to demonstrate that by
using computer algorithms to combine biochemicaland cellularscreening dataeffective drug
targets can be identified for two different subtypes of DLBCL lymphomaImportantlythe method
also identifies off targets thatif disturbedwill counteract the desired outcomei elower or
neutralize a drug s efficacyThe method uses normal blood cells from healthy donors to ensure
that the identified drug targets serve to specifically abolish cancer cells without harming normal
cellsThese key features make our method a valuable complement for currently used target
identification technologiesincluding genomics and proteomicsThe second aim is to develop
the core components of the methodology into a robust and standalone platform that can be used
by drug discovery programs at Truvitechits partnersand its clients!

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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