News

DiscoveryBioMed, Inc. and the Monell Chemical Senses Center deepen their scientific collaboration fueled by human taste bud epithelial cell platform technologies

Begun in late 2015, DiscoveryBioMed, Inc. and the Monell Chemical Senses Center (www.monell.org) are collaborating on transforming a Monell invention of isolating primary cultures of human taste bud cells into applied science platforms with which to interrogate human taste sensory pathways and with which to utilize in taste modulator discovery campaigns. Some highlights of this synergistic commercial-academic collaboration are listed below: DBM optimized the culture, cryopreservation and immortalization of human taste bud epithelial cells (hTBECs) for greater utility in taste modulator discovery programs.DBM established a method to isolate and establish hTBEC cultures from the taste bud tissue of individual donors – this method allows the hTBEC cell behavior to be directly linked to the donor’s taste behavior and to the donor’s taste genetics.Using magnetic immunocapture methods and traditional cloning, DBM and Monell established sweet-responsive hTBEC cell lines and cultures for future use.With funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Monell and DBM performed bitter taste assays on bitter-tasting medicines given to pediatric populations in the developing world for malaria, parasitism, HIV/AIDS and other ailments...

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DiscoveryBioMed, Inc., Nitor Therapeutics and Therachem Medilabs are collaborating on a Phase 1 SBIR-driven humanized drug discovery program discovering and validating STING inhibitors for niche autoimmune diseases

Three local biotechnology companies are collaborating on a new humanized drug discovery campaign to discover inhibitor of STING, a protein known as stimulator of interferon genes. Dr. Shanta Bantia, Nitor Therapeutics’ President and CEO, approached DBM about this drug target for niche autoimmune diseases. She, together with DBM’s Dr. John Streiff and Erik Schwiebert, designed a Critical Path of discovery and validation assays using human cells to garner Phase 1 SBIR funding from the NIH NIAID. In addition to DBM and Nitor, Dr. Pooran Chand, President of Therachem Medilabs, has opened a new site in Birmingham, and is assisting this project with medicinal chemistry and synthetic chemistry expertise. “STING and its associated signaling pathway is an exciting drug target in BioPharmaceutical circles at present,” declared Dr. Shanta Bantia. “There have already been multiple deals between smaller biotechnology firms and larger BioPharmaceutical companies for STING agonists and antagonists. We seek to join this sector and we believe that our approach is novel. We are already discovering novel hit-to-lead chemical classes that are STING inhibitors and we...

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Dr. Grace Salzer, Ph.D. has joined DBM as a Principal Scientist

DiscoveryBioMed, Inc. is pleased to announce that Dr. Grace Salzer has joined DBM as a principal scientist. “We continue to find wonderful, young and energetic talent from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, “ explained Dr. Erik Schwiebert, DBM’s CEO and CSO. “Newly minted Ph.D. scientists can work independently and can wear multiple hats, something critical to our scientific teams and programs at DBM. Grace is the latest key hire for us and she will work on the formation of two new scientific units within DBM’s CRO services business.” Grace completed her Ph.D. in 2019 from UAB in work focused on sudden cardiac rhythm arrest and the role of pannexins, extracellular purinergic signaling, and calcium channels and transporters in the heart. DBM will have more news updates regarding new sectors of its CRO services business in the coming months.

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DiscoveryBioMed, Inc. internship program is paying dividends and is identifying talent for us and for the biotechnology workforce

DiscoveryBioMed, Inc. is pleased to update everyone on the progress of its internship program. In our 12 years of business, we have welcomed over 15 interns into DBM and we have exposed as many or more to the biotechnology career path during that time. Recently, we had our third intern from Grinnell College, Shaina Zarkin-Scott, who worked with DBM initially as a part-time intern and then a Staff Scientist for a year. She was preceded by Christina Fu and Elisabeth Schwiebert, currently upperclasswomen at Grinnell. Turner Schwiebert is a data analysis intern for us at present and he is a Data Analytics major at Denison University. Our connections to the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) are also realizing talented interns and full-time employees. Molly Buckley is completing her Master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering at UAB and is linking DBM to a collaboration with Dr. Joel Berry in 3D bioreactor technology. A Ph.D. candidate, Alba Martinez, working with Molly and Dr. Joel Berry, is also going to be a key principal in these new efforts...

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Dr. Hai T. Vo, Ph.D. has joined DiscoveryBioMed, Inc. as a Senior Scientist

DiscoveryBioMed, Inc. is pleased to announce that Dr. Hai Vo has joined DBM as a senior scientist. “Dr. Vo has already proved to be a man of many scientific talents and capable of wearing multiple hats,” explained Dr. Schwiebert, DBM’s CEO and CSO. In particular, Hai will lead our efforts in extending our CRO services business capabilities into quantitative RT-PCR and protein biochemistry so as to assess key targets at the mRNA and protein level in both CRO services client projects and in our R&D humanized drug discovery programs. He is also learning the details and key steps in our medium-throughput screening campaigns. Hai received his Ph.D. from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in work focused on the protein, Klotho, in primary neurons and its multiple roles in cellular neurobiology.

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DBM Increases Engagement with Scientists, Researchers, and Entrepreneurs

Going through the threshold from 2017 to 2018, DBM endeavored to increase its engagement and by extension its visibility within the larger biotechnology community. Now entering Q4 of 2018, we sit down with DBM’s Head of Business Development, Matthew Redmann, Ph.D., to discuss DBM’s efforts up until this point and what is planned for the remaining part of the year and into 2019. Q: Going into 2018, what have been your objectives from a business development perspective? A: Discovery BioMed has historically developed and maintained substantive and fruitful relationships with our many clients and collaborators with groups spread across the globe – in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. However, due to the nature of the work, most of it is shielded behind non-disclosures, making it difficult to organically create momentum. In 2018 we sought to change that by adopting a more pro-active approach to marketing our services and building relationships. Q: Given that key goal, what has been DBM’s strategy to achieve it? A: A lot can be accomplished just by reaching out to people...

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