Molecular Forecaster Continues Quest to Fast Track Drug Discovery with Two New Public-Private Partnerships
The company and its partners have secured CAD$1 million to apply and improve MFI’s virtual drug-design software in support of preclinical research targeting antibiotic-resistant bacteria and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
MONTREAL, QUEBEC, September 28, 2021 – Molecular Forecaster Inc. (MFI) is excited to announce it has secured funding to further develop its structure-based drug-design software, offer its research services, and expand into new niche drug targets. The funding supports optimization of the company’s proprietary algorithms and will enable MFI and its partners to accelerate the design of small molecule hits against biological targets related to various diseases, including G Protein-Coupled Receptors (GPCRs), metalloenzymes, transcription factors, and nucleic acids.
As an in silico drug discovery contract research organization, MFI has expertise in drug discovery, quantum mechanics, molecular dynamics, chemoinformatics, and artificial intelligence (AI). This means MFI can offer its clients—many of whom are small biotechs focused on research areas that do not get a lot of attention—a unique synthesis of science, software, and service to accelerate their early-stage drug-discovery process.
“COVID has in many respects normalized an approach to drug discovery that MFI has embraced since our launch in 2010: find ways to do the greatest good in the shortest time with the best tools available,” says Josh Pottel, MFI’s President and CEO. “We’re seeing ever-increasing demand for expediting drug discovery using computational approaches. We believe our combination of domain knowledge and research experience positions MFI as a go-to partner for small and medium biotechs looking to reduce their preclinical research costs, expand their capabilities, and improve their success rates.”
Under Génome Québec’s Genomics Integration Program, MFI’s public-private partnership with McGill University’s McKeague Lab of Genomic Chemistry and Mittermeier Lab of Biomolecular Structure, Function, and Dynamics has secured $400,000 for a two-year project to develop a rational design and in vitro screening pipeline to discover new classes of antibiotics targeting ribonucleic acid (RNA). Bacterial resistance to antibiotics is a significant threat to public health globally and, until now, the ability to develop new therapies in response has been limited in part because of the lack of software options to accelerate their discovery. MFI anticipates the software developed in this project can be leveraged to develop drugs to a wide range of bacteria as well as other therapeutics that interact with RNA.
“We desperately need computational tools to model RNA and screen molecules that act on RNA, which is what makes this project with MFI so exciting,” says Maureen McKeague, Assistant Professor of Pharmacology and Chemistry at McGill. “We hope to prove the efficacy of MFI’s software in the discovery of drugs targeting RNA, while also evaluating the small molecule hits as potential antibiotics targeting riboswitches.”
With support from biopharmaceutical research consortium, CQDM, MFI has also secured investment for a project in a partnership with AR Metabolic Inc.—an early-stage biotech company developing therapies for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)— and the Molecular Endocrinology Laboratory at McGill. The three-year project is focused on developing a rational design and in vitro screening program targeting a key protein involved in the metabolism of sugars and fats.
“Typically, new drug discovery is done by screening libraries of compounds. But library screening requires a significant amount of time and resources,” says Laurent Amar, AR Metabolic’s CEO. “With MFI, we can use software using artificial intelligence to identify new interactions between molecules and targets – an innovative approach that helps us expedite our efforts to find a cure for health concerns that impact close to a quarter of the global population.”
“Thanks to its expertise in artificial intelligence and quantum technology, Quebec has the necessary assets to push the search for new drugs even further,” said Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of the Economy and Innovation and Minister responsible for Regional Economic Development. “In order to become world leaders in life sciences, we must continue to rely on our leading-edge sectors and the creativity of our researchers.”
About Molecular Forecaster Inc.
Molecular Forecaster Inc. (MFI) is a computational chemistry company with expertise in drug discovery, quantum mechanics, molecular dynamics, chemoinformatics, and artificial intelligence. Offering world-leading proprietary software, algorithms, and contract research services, MFI works with organizations looking to fast-track preclinical drug discovery, from start-up biotechs to established pharma. Founded in 2010, MFI was created out of research at McGill University and today is part of the Accelerate Quebec Program within the adMare Bioinnovations Center in Montréal, Canada.
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