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X-Chem, Abilita Form Drug Discovery Partnership

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – X-Chem and Abilita Bio announced today that they have partnered to discover novel modulators of G-protein coupled receptors (GPCR) and ion channel targets.

Under the terms of the deal, Abilita will generate enabled membrane proteins (EMPs) using a proprietary cell-based directed evolution system — which is designed to optimize key membrane protein properties and retain native structure and pharmacology — for several undisclosed GPCR and ion channel targets. X-Chem will then use its DNA-encoded small molecule libraries — which contain more than 120 billion compounds — to screen the EMPs and identify agonists and/or antagonists against the targets.

The companies will select promising drug leads for further development and commercialization. Additional terms were not disclosed.

"GPCRs and ion channels have always been very challenging targets for target-based screening technologies," X-Chem President and CEO Rick Wagner said in a statement. "Abilita's EMP platform, coupled with X-Chem's small molecule discovery engine, opens the gate to the identification of drug leads against hundreds of previously inaccessible targets."

Earlier this year, X-Chem and its collaborators were awarded a $10 million grant from the US Department of Defense to to identify new drug targets for tuberculosis using the company's  DNA-encoded small molecule libraries.