Our technology allows a highly parallel approach to finding potential targets of drug candidates, new drug modalities, and enables more informed decisions in drug discovery.

Using mercurious™, the Company believes scientists can discover the true cellular target(s) for bioactive compounds (small molecule drugs, drug leads and biologics) with high specificity and high affinity more rapidly than by conventional biochemical approaches. The Company’s technology is complementarity to other target identification technologies such as affinity capture mass spectrometry, CRISPR-screens and yeast 3-hybrid but has some unique advantages due to the iterative nature of the process.

About 60% of proteins are common to all tissue types and only 3% are specific to one cell type – and almost all of these (94%) are low abundance proteins. Unfortunately, these are exactly the proteins Pharma need to identify for drug development. Our mercurious phage display platform physically links protein domains with their gene to render even the lowest abundance proteins detectable through iterative affinity purification and PCR-like amplification. The Company’s technology can be used to identify all the protein targets of drugs, drug leads, screening hits, natural products and biologics that display promising pharmacological activities that have unknown mechanisms of action, identify possible off-targets that could be related to side effects or allow drug repositioning. We do this through the innovative combination of chemical synthesis and phage biopanning to identify the most avid drug-protein interactions involved. Our approach provides a relatively unbiased method that is complementary of forward proteomics approaches (e.g. affinity capture mass spectrometry, DARTS and CETSA) and genetics methods (e.g. CRISPR-Cas9/sgRNA and shRNA) methods to reveal fundamental insights into the mechanisms of action of biologically active molecules.

Our technology allows a highly parallel approach to finding potential targets of drug candidates and enables fail-fast and fail cheap decisions in drug discovery.  By extracting mRNA of a cell with temporal and spatial control, coding and non-coding transcriptomics information can be packaged as cDNA libraries and displayed on viral (e.g. phage) particle surfaces to generate diverse but ordered collections of functional protein libraries for screening.   Bioactive compounds can be iteratively screened against these protein libraries more rapidly than conventional biochemical approaches and generates unique  binding matrices for better assessment of targeting affinity and specificity. 

A) Forward chemical proteomics starts with a a proteome interrogated with a tagged drug, pulling down activity of affinity associated proteins,
B) Reverse Chemical Proteomics starts with the transcriptome (mRNA) displayed on the surface of a vector to achieve iterative purification of the most avid binding partner