How this biotech company is bringing software to big pharma - Baltimore


How this biotech company is bringing software to big pharma

SilcsBio does drug discovery via software. The company just got a $1.2 million award from the federal government to ramp up research efforts.

Computer-aided drug discovery is a growing field.

(Photo courtesy of Sinai Hospital BioIncubator)

Since completing a 2013 licensing deal with UM Ventures for technology that brings computers into the process of pharmaceutical drug discovery, SilcsBio has been growing its product offerings and sales.

Now, the company is getting a boost from the federal government. The company was awarded a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award for $1.2 million, CEO Ken Malone said via email.

The funding from the National Institutes of Health will provide capital for the company to improve its capabilities in Computer-Aided Drug Design (CADD). The company’s existing products contain algorithms that map proteins, allowing specialists to test how they will perform with potential drugs that pharmaceutical companies are developing.

“This funding will allow us to improve upon our already best in class accuracy and extend its use into protein-protein interactions,” Dr. Alex MacKerell, the company’s chief science officer, said in a statement.

The company showed growth leading up to this point. Malone reported sales to several pharmaceutical companies, and four employees who were once part-time are now full-time, with a half-dozen more part-timers now on board.

“We’ve found that sales cycles to large pharma companies are years not months as they perform extensive trials,” Malone wrote. “So we are just now seeing the benefits of our work from two years ago and the great news is that we are adding new customers and getting repeat business because all the trials have worked perfect.”

The company also changed office locations at the beginning of 2016, moving from the University of Maryland BioPark to downtown’s Spark Baltimore. Malone said the recently opened startup space above Power Plant Live! “eliminates our concerns about physical infrastructure.”

“We can spend all our time focusing on our team and customers,” he said.

Companies: SilcsBio
People: Ken Malone
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