NEW YORK, Aug. 7, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Lodo Therapeutics Corp. (Lodo), a biotechnology company reinventing natural product drug discovery by applying its informatics-enabled technology platform to previously undruggable disease targets, today announced that it has completed the acquisition of Conifer Point Pharmaceuticals, LLC (Conifer Point). Conifer Point has proprietary tools and deep expertise in computational structural biology and cheminformatics. Lodo will integrate Conifer Point’s technology and know-how to enhance its artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) capabilities and expand its P4 PlatformTM for the in-silico discovery of novel drug leads from biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs) in microbial DNA.
Dale Pfost, PhD, Chairman and CEO of Lodo, noted, «This is the first of our targeted strategic acquisitions designed to accelerate Lodo’s goal of reinventing natural product drug discovery. Conifer Point and its predecessor company, BioLeap, have pioneered the application of advanced cheminformatics and structural biology to drug discovery. Its molecular modeling technologies and algorithms have been tested and refined for more than a decade in real-world use with biopharmaceutical partners. Lodo’s initiative to adapt these capabilities to the domain of biosynthetically-produced molecules is a breakthrough that for the first time makes the possibility of de novo natural product drug discovery a reality.»
Dr. Pfost continued, «Our existing P4 Platform allows Lodo to access the vast chemical space of drug-like molecules encoded in microbial DNA starting from known, data-supported drug scaffolds, thereby unlocking a rich new source of lead candidates and analogs. The addition of Conifer Point’s technology allows de novo discovery starting from a disease target of interest, rather than a known drug scaffold. This makes it possible for Lodo to discover, enrich and prioritize large numbers of biologically and pathway-relevant molecules addressing hard-to-drug disease targets in silico, with unprecedented gains in predictive power and significantly enhanced efficiency.»
Conifer Point’s integrated cheminformatic and structural biology modeling platform creates an in-silico map of where, and with what relative affinity, molecules and their fragments bind to target proteins. The technology includes a variety of advanced tools and software for assessing the engagement of natural product molecules and their docking to targets of interest, greatly facilitating the ability of drug researchers to enumerate, select and prioritize potential leads in silico.
The company’s proprietary tools include the Grand Canonical Monte Carlo Fragment Simulator for generating chemical fragment binding maps. It is among the industry’s highest performing protein-fragment simulation software in terms of speed and accuracy and is the only platform with the demonstrated ability to produce hundreds of thousands of accurate binding maps on an industrial scale. Associated software incorporates 3D molecular visualization and extensive capabilities for managing and searching the very large binding data sets produced by the Simulator.
Lodo will house Conifer Point’s technology at its New York City-based facilities. John Kulp Jr., PhD, Chief Technology Officer at Conifer Point and an inventor of its technology, is joining Lodo as Vice President, Cheminformatics. Conifer Point founder and CEO, John Kulp lll, PhD, will serve as a consultant to Lodo.
Dr. John Kulp, lll commented, «The sophisticated drug discovery tools and technologies first developed at BioLeap and advanced by Conifer Point have demonstrated their utility for improving drug discovery efficiency and effectiveness across chemical classes and therapeutic areas. We are delighted to join forces with Lodo, whose commitment to applying informatics, genomics and synthetic biology to reinvent natural product drug discovery is fully aligned with our vision. We see Lodo as well situated to extend the full potential of our unique technology to the domain of natural product therapeutics. I look forward to serving as a consultant to help the Lodo team make optimal use of these powerful tools.»
Dr. John Kulp, Jr. has decades of experience developing and applying AI/ML and other advanced computational technologies to biopharmaceutical uses. At the Sarnoff Corporation (now Stanford Research International), Dr. Kulp established the large-scale biophysical simulation team and served as Vice President. At Sarnoff he helped form Locus Pharmaceuticals before founding BioLeap, a leader in computational fragment-based molecular design. Dr. Kulp served as founding CEO of BioLeap and was directly involved in the coding and application of BioLeap’s Grand Canonical Monte Carlo simulation program with pharmaceutical and biotechnology company partners. Its assets were acquired by Conifer Point in 2015. Dr. Kulp earned BS and MS degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and a PhD in Electrical Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Further financial details were not disclosed.
Separately, Lodo announced that Dale Pfost will present at the 2020 Wedbush PacGrow Healthcare Virtual Conference on Wednesday, August 12, 2020 at 8:35 am ET. A live webcast of the presentation will be available at http://wsw.com/webcast/wedbush36/lodo/2229562. A replay of the webcast will be available for 90 days following the presentation.
About Lodo Therapeutics
Lodo is reinventing natural product drug discovery with its technology enabled P4 PlatformTM and ClusterTechTM suite of informatics tools. Our DNA-first approach taps the structurally diverse, biologically relevant drug-like molecules encoded in microbial DNA. Lodo integrates breakthroughs in next-generation sequencing, artificial intelligence/machine learning and synthetic biology to identify, characterize and prioritize lead molecules in silico. Lodo uses synthetic biology to boost production and enhance candidate molecules’ pharmacologic properties, including their ability to engage challenging targets. Together, these integrated technologies increase the scalability, efficiency and productivity of the discovery process by orders of magnitude. We view our ability to efficiently access, annotate and prioritize large numbers of natural product drug-like molecules in silico as a historic breakthrough. Following successful initial collaborations with two leading global partners, Lodo is developing a pipeline of oncology drugs and seeking additional partners in a range of indications. Lodo is headquartered in New York City and is supported by top tier investors, including Arch Venture Partners, Alexandria Venture Investments, Pfizer, AbbVie and Lilly. For more information, visit lodotherapeutics.com.
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SOURCE Lodo Therapeutics Corp.