Miami Project Researchers Launch Startup Truvitech
Researchers Launch Truvitech with Innovative Technology to Identify Novel Drug Targets for Treating Injuries, Diseases, and Disorders
Hassan Al-Ali, Ph.D., and Vance Lemmon, Ph.D., faculty members at the University of Miami’s The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, co-founded Truvitech LLC, a biotechnology startup based in South Florida. The company proposes to accelerate the discovery of therapeutics and to improve the quality of life for patients during treatment. Specifically, the company seeks to revolutionize how drug targets are discovered and, consequently, how drugs are developed and combined for maximal therapeutic impact. Truvitech achieves this through the collaborative creativity of clinicians, biologists, chemists, and computer scientists.
“Identifying effective drug targets can take decades and cost tens of millions of dollars. The inefficiency in this process has significantly contributed to the skyhigh costs of putting a drug on the market and the high prices experienced by patients,” said Dr. Lemmon.
So far, the application of Truvitech’s technology has resulted in a promising compound that is currently in preclinical development for treating central nervous system (CNS) injuries. Additionally, proof-of-concept applications for other disease models have demonstrated the high portability of the platform. Truvitech is currently applying its technology to develop drugs for lymphoma, and is in the planning phase for a Diabetic Kidney Disease drug. Truvitech was recently awarded a highly competitive Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant from the National Center for Translational Science (NCATS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This grant supports Truvitech’s internal R&D program. It also supports the Lymphoma project, which is performed in collaboration with Dr. Jonathan Schatz at the Sylvester Cancer Center, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
“We want to make it possible to identify drug targets within several months and at a small fraction of the current cost. Reducing the inefficiency in this critical step of the drug discovery process stands to benefit all stakeholders, including drug developers and patients,” remarked Dr. Al-Ali.
Truvitech’s patent-pending technology uses a unique combination of biochemical profiling, cell-based screening, and machine learning to rapidly discover responsive pharmacological targets. The two key components of the platform are a specially designed chemical probe library and a unique algorithm for data analysis. The approach frequently identifies not just one, but several druggable targets. This is critical information for developing efficacious drugs, and also valuable for designing optimal drug combinations. In addition, the platform identifies biological components whose engagement must be avoided to maximize therapeutic efficacy (anti-targets). Together, these features provide an unprecedented advantage for drug discovery programs. For more information visit Truvitech.