Press Releases and News

Aphios Awarded Grant For Green Drug Discovery
September 09, 2014
Woburn, Mass − Aphios Corporation today announced that it was awarded an SBIR grant from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), NIH to design and develop instrumentation for its green drug discovery technology.

The majority of new chemical entities (NCEs), including anticancer drugs and anti-infectives approved by regulatory authorities, over the last few decades have been based on natural products isolated from terrestrial plants and microorganisms. Despite these statistics, many pharmaceutical companies have eliminated their natural products research. This shift was made to explore the promise of high-throughput screening of mass-produced combinatorial libraries against the many disease targets that have been developed as a result of the explosion of
biologic and genetic information, and the sequencing of the human genome. This paradigm shift has not resulted in the expected surge in productivity in the discovery pipeline. This decline in productivity is partially caused by the shift from screening natural products molecules that have been honed by millions of years of evolutionary development to screening simple organic structures that can be readily manipulated by combinatorial chemistry. This paradigm shift from natural to synthetic was also partially driven by the difficulties associated with the discovery of bioactive natural molecules.

To address this issue, Aphios has developed a green drug discovery enabling technology platform. In Aphios' patented critical fluid fractionation (CXF) technologies, biomass is contacted with environmentally friendly SuperFluids such as carbon dioxide with or without small quantities of polar cosolvents for the rapid preparation of partially purified natural product mixtures that minimize false positives and negatives in sensitive biological screens, and allow the rapid discovery of therapeutic drugs and quality-of-life medicines from terrestrial plants and marine organisms.

Dr. Castor, an inventor of the technology, points out that "In a direct, large-scale, head-to-head comparison with conventional organic phase (butanol) extraction used by Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (Wallingford, CT), we have demonstrated that the CXF process increases the recovery and diversity of secondary metabolites. Additionally, this collaboration determined that the hit rate from over 40 screens was 200% higher in SuperFluids™ fractions than in either butanol or aqueous fractions."

About Aphios Corporation

Aphios Corporation is an emerging growth biotechnology company developing green enabling technology platforms for improving drug discovery, manufacturing, delivery and safety, and enhanced natural therapeutics for health maintenance and disease prevention, and the treatment of cancers and supportive care, infectious diseases such as HIV, and CNS disorders such as Alzheimer's disease. This research is supported in part by Grant Number 1R43AT008304-01 from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), NIH.