Warp Drive Bio
400 Technology Square
About Warp Drive Bio
Warp Drive Bio is driving the reemergence of natural products in the era of genomics to create breakthrough treatments that make an important difference in the lives of patients. Built upon the belief that nature is the world’s most powerful medicinal chemist, Warp Drive Bio is deploying a battery of state-of-the-art technologies to access powerful drugs that are now hidden within microbes.
Several major technological developments have recently enabled an entirely new approach to natural product drug discovery. This newly opened window into nature’s vast portfolio of genetically encoded but unexpressed drugs stems from the convergence of multiple advances in disparate fields. Notably, these advances include the discovery that natural product biosynthetic genes are clustered, the development of ultra high-throughput DNA sequencing technology that can acquire enormous amounts of genomic information cost-effectively, and the emergence of bio-informatic and chemo-informatic capabilities that can convert raw DNA sequence into accurate structural predictions of encoded natural products.
These, together with biophysical insights into natural product mechanisms of action, have allowed Warp Drive Bio to identify what we call “chemomemes,” conserved structural domains that define important classes of natural products. The encoding of chemomemes by conserved genetic elements within biosynthetic gene clusters provides the basis for a search through genomic space to identify novel molecules containing a particular chemomeme.
Key to the Warp Drive Bio approach is the company’s proprietary “genomic search engine” and customized search queries that enable hidden natural products to be revealed on the basis of their distinctive genomic signature. We are focusing this innovative search engine on chemomemes having high pharmaceutical pedigree, novel and profound biological effects that tap into areas of high unmet medical need, and the ability to access targets that abiotic small molecules and monoclonal antibodies cannot. These molecules will have already been evolved by nature to possess excellent pharmaceutical properties and compelling mechanisms of action, factors that will greatly accelerate the timeline to clinical entry.
The Warp Drive Bio technology platform is built around the “3Rs” suite of capabilities, creating an integrated drug discovery process that converts genomes to drugs. The first R, Reading, brings to bear state-of-the-art genomic data acquisition technologies plus our proprietary search engine to discovery potentially high-value biosynthetic gene clusters nested within bacterial genomes. Gene clusters of high interest identified via Reading are then funneled into the second R, wRiting, which configures the biosynthetic gene clusters of interest for engineered over-production and provides the encoded natural product in pure form and in multi-milligram quantities for structural and functional studies. Finally, the third R, aRithmetic, provides mechanistic insight into the function of our novel natural products via high-throughput cellular target identification and subsequent characterization of phenotypic and molecular effects.
Launched in 2011 through a groundbreaking strategic partnership with Sanofi and with financing from Third Rock Ventures and Greylock Partners, the company was founded by renowned scientist Dr. Gregory Verdine, along with Dr. George Church and Dr. James Wells.
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