SBIR Phase I: A Label-Free Tool for High Throughput Drug Discovery

Period of Performance: 01/01/2011 - 12/31/2011


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

552 N Vine Street
Hinsdale, IL 60521
Principal Investigator


This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project has the goal of developing a technology that accelerates the discovery of drugs for a broad range of diseases. The proposed technology, termed SAMDI, is innovative in that it combines advances in materials science and mass spectrometry to allow the rapid testing of potential drug candidates. The technology uses robotic liquid handling and high-density assay plates that are modified with substrate molecules that are modified by enzymes that alter the structures of the molecules. This change in structure is characterized by mass spectrometry and provides a simple assay for the enzyme activity. The SBIR project will translate the SAMDI assay to a high throughput format that can assay many thousands of samples in a day in an automated fashion. The broader/commercial impacts of this research are expected in the early stages of drug discovery. The development of a drug begins with a screen, where hundreds of thousands of small drug-like compounds are tested to identify those few that can interact with and alter the activity of an enzyme that is involved in disease progression. These ?hits? are then optimized and ultimately lead to pharmaceuticals that benefit patients. For many enzymes, assays that are rapid, cost-effective and reliable do not yet exist and therefore delay the drug discovery process. The SAMDI assay is applicable to most of these difficult targets and would radically accelerate drug discovery programs for a broad range of diseases.