Drug partnership taps into phytochemical reference library

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Chromadex

Alabama-based biotechnology firm DiscoveryBioMed (DBM) has partnered with Californian botanical specialist ChromaDex to tap into the group’s phytochemical expertise as it steps up work on the development of anti-inflammatory drugs.

As part of the partnership, ChromaDex, which specializes in botanical reference standards and analytical tools, will be providing a library of natural products to use as a reference in DBM’s human cell-based platforms.

According to DBM, the two firms “share the same core conviction that natural product-derived small molecules are of huge potential value to the pharma and biotech and OTC industry”.

"The integration between our human cell platforms for drug discovery that are of biological and disease relevance and ChromaDex's phytochemical small molecules and botanical extracts is a huge 'value add' for both companies," ​ said DBM director, Dr Erik Schwiebert.

NIH grant

The move comes at the same time as a $200,000 grant awarded to DBM by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the discovery of anti-inflammatory drugs. The Small Business Innovations Research Phase 1 grant will be used to continue research into the discovery and development of anti-inflammatory phytochemicals for nasal and pulmonary inflammation, dermatitis, and kidney disorders with an inflammatory component.

According to Dr Schwiebert, the new partnership with ChromaDex “empowers”​ its research program by providing access to botanically-derived small molecule phytochemicals and extracts.

DBM said it designs phenotypic high-throughput molecular screening programs where the human cell platform accelerates drug discovery. The firm’s program aims to discover broad spectrum anti-inflammatory phytochemicals.

Commitment to botanicals

Last year, NIH set up a separate agreement with ChromaDex designed to provide its various groups with easier access to the botanical firm’s products and services.

The Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA), set up in June 2009, covered all areas of ChromaDex’s activities, including botanical reference materials, phytochemicals, bulk chemical production, analytical testing services, analytical method development, contract research, isolation of compounds, chemical synthesis and natural product libraries.

Just last month, the firm also won a five-year contract to supply federal agencies with scientific services.

The new contract with the General Services Administration (GSA), which took effect on March 1, covers all aspects of food and dietary supplement testing, analytical method development and validation, contract research services, report and manuscript preparation and laboratory technique training.

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