Ascenion coaches spin-off from the Helmholtz Zentrum München

eADMET to Improve Drug Discovery and Development Drugs

09-Sep-2011 - Germany

The Helmholtz Zentrum München and its technology transfer partner Ascenion helped get a new start-up off the ground: eADMET GmbH. The chemoinformatics company develops and commercializes new IT solutions for the prediction of physical and ADME/Tox (‘drug-like’) properties of new potential medicines. eADMET recently secured GO-Bio Phase II funding and closed a seed financing with the High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) and Bayern Kapital. GO-Bio is a support programme which is funded by the Germany Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and managed by Projektträger Jülich.

ADME/Tox stands for absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion and toxicity. These properties determine a compound’s suitability as drug candidate and must be elucidated before it can proceed to preclinical and clinical testing. Poor ADME/Tox profiles are the main reason for drug failure and significantly contribute to the $800 million to $1.7 billion estimated costs for developing a new drug up to launch. Tools for the early and reliable prediction of ADME/Tox properties are therefore of great interest to the biopharmaceutical industry.

‘eADMET combines bioinformatics and drug discovery. Its services deliver information enabling drug developers to reduce necessary experiments by up to two thirds. The success of this technology underlines the ability of Helmholtz Zentrum München to transfer knowledge from research into benefit for society,’ says Prof. Günther Wess, CEO and President of Helmholtz Zentrum München.

eADMET’s core product is OCHEM, a unique web-based database linking the molecular structure of chemical entities with their physical and ADME/Tox properties. The community-driven platform comprises extensive data sets as well as first-rate calculation algorithms for property prediction. Chemoinformatic researchers from around the world continuously contribute new information which is then merged with publicly available data and eADMET’s proprietary expertise. As a result, OCHEM delivers superior prediction quality, as confirmed in independent peer-group testing by industry. For commercial users eADMET has created tailored software solutions that allow in-house access and adjustment of predictions to individual requirements.

Development and validation efforts were done at the Helmholtz Zentrum München, financed through a Phase I GO-Bio grant. ‘Using the funds, the team has developed the platform into a central resource of the community with over several hundred public users and tailored gateways for industry clients,’ Christian Stein, CEO of Ascenion comments. ‘This impressive proof-of-concept was a perfect basis for securing follow-on investments. eADMET demonstrates how a committed team can successfully advance a compelling concept if it receives appropriate support and funding early on.’

For more than 5 years, Ascenion has closely worked together with Igor Tetko, group leader at the Helmholtz Zentrum München and today’s CSO of eADMET, who was instrumental in developing OCHEM and related services. Ascenion has provided advice as well as hands-on support throughout the process – from setting-up the business plan over the GO-Bio applications to the closing of the recent financing round. Ascenion holds equity in the company and will continue to support the team as coach and ‘sparring partner’.

‘We highly appreciate the professional and comprehensive support from technology transfer and all our partners, including the chemoinformatics community in academia and industry,’ Wolfram Teetz, CEO of eADMET comments. ‘We are now perfectly set to further exploit the commercial potential of our platform.’ The company plans to expand its client base in the biopharmaceutical and chemical industry and to generate further revenues from advertisement and tailored e-commerce solutions for companies providing chemical synthesis services. ‘Our vision is to establish OCHEM as the premier high-quality reference platform for chemoinformatics and ADME/Tox-related information, expertise and services,’ Wolfram Teetz concludes.

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