AI, Startups

Pfizer inks deal with startup Adapsyn to search microbes for novel compounds

Pfizer is recruiting Canadian upstart Adapsyn Bioscience to dig for novel compounds by scraping and crunching genomic and metabolomic data from microbes. The research collaboration came with some upfront cash and up to $162 million in biobucks down the road.

The small biotech, launched in 2016, says it uses AI and machine learning to find novel and mechanistically diverse small molecules from human and environmental microbes.

Edmund Graziani

“Discovering truly novel compounds that exhibit new pharmacological signatures from natural products has historically been a very time- and labor-intensive process,” said Edmund Graziani, chemistry research fellow and head of synthetic biology and natural products at Pfizer. “Adapsyn’s technology could potentially help take much of the guess work out of the process, and help reveal novel chemistry and biology from our natural product samples.”

The news of the collaboration was announced in conjunction with a new financing round for Adapsyn, which picked up investments from Pfizer R&D Innovate and Genesys Capital. The companies didn’t disclose the size of the round, nor did Adapsyn share the upfront payment for its research deal with Pfizer.

What we do know is that both companies have exclusive rights to pursue select novel compounds and their derivatives identified through the collaboration. On top of the upfront payment, Adapsyn can earn preclinical and regulatory milestone payments of up to $162 million, as well as royalties on potential future sales of any product that may be derived from this collaboration. Should Adapsyn advance any potential compounds identified through the collaboration, Pfizer will be eligible for future milestone and royalty payments as well.

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