Large datasets will train machine learning models and accelerate agile discovery of new crop protection solutions
MYSTIC, Conn., June 14, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Enkocrop health company, announced the acquisition of proprietary DNA-encoded libraries and technology activation from a leading drug discovery services company X-Chem. Enko is the first company to internalize this technology for agricultural applications. Libraries will help accelerate the discovery and development of safe and sustainable crop protection solutions that farmers urgently need.
DNA-encoded libraries are a proven tool for initiating pharmaceutical drug discovery projects due to the efficiency of screening large and diverse chemical spaces. Enko was the first to apply this approach to meet the challenges of agriculture. This acquisition is a significant step forward for Enko’s ENKOMPASS™ platform, which combines screening of DNA-encoded libraries with machine learning and structure-based design to find new chemistry and modes of action to control crop pests and diseases. Enko’s targeted discovery method uncovers promising chemical starting points in months, compared to the years it takes for traditional R&D approaches.
“Diversity is the foundation and cornerstone of innovation in drug design, and our farmers need it now more than ever,” said Enko CEO and Founder. Jacqueline Heard. “Having these libraries from X-Chem gives us more flexibility to explore the chemical universe and predict which molecule will suit a specific crop threat. For example, we can refine our screens to focus on a new structure that targets insect pest enzymes. without harming the bees. It’s similar to how researchers designed cancer drugs to kill cancer cells without affecting others.
Combining DNA-encoded library screening with machine learning enables Enko to exploit new chemical spaces, which is critical to overcoming widespread pest resistance. With these new libraries, every experiment will produce high-quality molecular starting points and training data for machine learning models that increase the efficiency of hit generation and lead optimization. To discover new safe and effective modes of action against pests, Enko can both screen billions of molecules in its DNA-encoded libraries and use artificial intelligence and machine learning to create more efficient ways to find and select the right treatments for the right targets, faster. that no one had ever imagined possible.
“The universe of chemicals that can be extracted for safe and effective crop health products is huge. So far, researchers have barely scratched its surface,” said Nour Shaker, senior vice-president at X-Chem and member of the board of directors of Enko. “We are the champions of LED-based drug discovery, and our work with Enko has shown the broad application of this technology to generate more targeted product pipelines in both pharmaceuticals and agriculture.
This technology acquisition follows a year in which Enko partnered with three of the world’s largest agricultural companies – Bayer, Syngenta and Nufarm. Enko has had a very high success rate with its LED program, producing new molecular starting points on multiple pest targets to control weeds, fungi, insects and soil pests. The company’s approach has been recognized by the World Economic Forum as a 2021 Technology Pioneer.
Enko designs safe and sustainable solutions to the biggest threats to farmers’ crops today, from pest resistance to new diseases. By applying the latest drug discovery and development approaches, from the pharmaceutical industry to plants, Enko brings a model of innovation to agriculture and responds to the changing needs of farmers. Founded in 2017 and led by a team of scientists, entrepreneurs and agriculture industry veterans, Enko is backed by investors including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Anterra Capital, Finistere Ventures, Novalis LifeSciences, Germin8 Ventures, TO Ventures Food and Rabo Food. & Agricultural Innovation Fund. Enko is headquartered in Mystique, Connecticut. For more information, visit enkochem.com.
X-Chem is a leader in small molecule drug discovery services for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. As a pioneer in DNA-encoded chemical library (LED) technology, the company leverages its market-leading LED platform to uncover novel small molecule leads against challenging and high-value therapeutic targets. As experts in medicinal chemistry, X-Chem can take these leads and evolve them into clinical candidates with unparalleled speed. Throughout the process, X-Chem’s proprietary advanced artificial intelligence (AI) technology accelerates every step of the process. X-Chem also provides libraries, reagents and computational tools to enable LED operators to get the most out of their LED platform. X-Chem enables its partners to efficiently build drug pipelines from target to clinical candidate, enhanced with AI.