Hyperdrive Science Awarded NSW Sate Government MVP Grant
Hyperdrive Science Pty Ltd (Prof. Peter Karuso, Drs Fei Liu, Paul Jascke and Kavita Ragini), the latest spin-out company from the Department of Molecular Sciences, was awarded a NSW Sate Government MVP grant ($50K) this week with matching funds from the CSIRO and a top-10 pharmaceutical company.
Hyperdrive Science provides Pharma with a service that identifies the human protein (drug target) that a drug binds to have its effect. The product is called “BindFind”, and it utilises a technique called phage display to rapidly and iteratively identify drug targets.
The ability to continuously find new drug leads for successful launches is crucial to a pharma company's survival. However, it currently costs ~US$2B and over a decade to launch a new drug, and even then, 4 out of 5 launches fail. This enormous cost threatens the viability of the industry and drug affordability in general. Major challenges include finding the target of new drug candidates and identifying new drug targets. Hyperdrive's technology can identify new drug targets, reduce costs and increases the chances of launch success by providing critical information so Pharma can make critical decision earlier in the drug development cycle.
Hyperdrive has validated their technology in the MolSci research laboratories and published extensively in this area. They are the original and world-leading team for this technology and published on the use of this technology to discover the known protein target of the immunosuppressant drug tacrolimus (FKBP) without which modern transplantation surgery would not be possible (Bioorg. Med. Chem. 2008, 17, 6841). We have also discovered the human cellular target for that anticancer drug kahalalide F (ChemBioChem, 2008, 9, 524), the antibiotic daptomycin (Proteome Sci. 2017, 15:16), and the human target of the antimalarial artesunate that explains, for the first time, this drug's anticancer activity (ACS Chem Biol. 2019, 14, 636).
The core team members of Hyperdrive Science have extensive research/commercial management capabilities. Prof. Peter Karuso (CEO; PhD (Sydney) is an expert in natural product drug discovery research and the phage display technology. He has served as Head of Department (2002-2005) at Macquarie and as CSO of Fluorotechnics (2004-2010), a Macquarie University spin out company. Dr. Fei Liu (CBDO/CMO; PhD (Yale)) is an expert in synthesis, medicinal chemistry, and network pharmacology and has managed large research groups and >4 M research grants/contracts. Dr. Paul Jaschke (CSO; PhD (British Colombia)) is an expert in molecular biology and phage engineering and consulted for US startup GeneWEAVE. Hyperdrive got its start through the CSIRO ON-program, winning the grand prize (People's choice award) in 2018 at the demo-night for the ON-4 program and continues to be mentored by the CSIRO through its runway services.
The company will subcontract research to Molecular Sciences to help the Pharma company identify the protein target(s) for a number of drugs. Hyperdrive and their partner share the same motivation: to help Pharma develop cheaper, safer and more effective drugs for everyone.