ACM Biolabs Markets Artificial Cell Membranes For Drug Discovery

Singapore start-up ACM Biolabs will market novel artificial cell membranes to enable faster and cheaper drug discovery.

Asian Scientist (Jan. 29, 2014) – ACM Biolabs, a spin-off company from A*STAR’s Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE), will market novel plastic cell membranes to be used as low-cost, easily maintained drug targets that help shorten the drug discovery process.

Artificial cell membranes (ACMs) are customized synthetic cell membranes that mimic live membranes that form the outer layer or ‘skin’ of cells. Disruption of cell membranes can lead to diseases such as cancer, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease because the cell membrane is essential for cell-to-cell communication and the exchange of vital molecules with other cells.

Therefore, the ability to find drugs that target cell membranes and membrane proteins is essential for exploring novel ways of treating such diseases. However, current methods for drug discovery in this area are tedious and cumbersome.

ACM Biolabs’ patented ACM technology, first developed at IMRE in 2009 and now licensed to ACM Biolabs, allows for the production of membrane proteins without the need for the specially controlled environments and training that is required in current live cell culture laboratories.

“Our proprietary artificial cell membrane technology is a unique combination of engineered polymer materials and biology that gives pharmaceutical companies a faster, cheaper alternative to current drug discovery methods,” said Dr Madhavan Nallani, a former IMRE scientist who founded ACM Biolabs.

“Our aim is to lower the entry barrier for more companies and labs to screen novel drugs, or test existing drugs on novel targets. ACM Biolabs believes that our product can reduce the risk from some of the more daunting phases in the drug discovery process and allows the creation of a new generation of innovative drugs.”

The company believes that the market potential for ACM is significant since the majority of known membrane proteins have yet to be explored as drug targets partly due to the difficulties in studying them in live cells.


Source: A*STAR.
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