Accelrys integrates MIT tech into updated lab software

With the new release of its key life sciences modeling and simulation software, Accelrys ($ACCL) has added algorithms licensed from MIT that were developed to aid in the design of biologic drugs such as monoclonal antibodies, the company said today.

The upgrades to the software, called Discovery Studio, reflect growing demand in the pharmaceutical industry for tools that can be used in the development of biologics. It includes software from the lab of MIT chemical engineering professor Bernhardt Trout that predicts the spots on protein drugs that are likely to cause them to stick or aggregate, which poses problems for storing the therapies and keeping them from degrading before they are given to patients. Trout and his colleagues at MIT developed the software with scientific collaborators from Swiss drug giant Novartis ($NVS), according to academic journal articles.

Accelrys, a global provider of lab software based in San Diego, says that this is the first commercially available software to predict so-called protein-to-protein aggregation of biologics. The updated software could find an eager audience with Big Pharma companies that have plowed many billions of dollars to boost their holdings in biologics in recent years. French drug giant Sanofi ($SNY), which bought biotech powerhouse Genzyme for more than $20 billion this year, is one of the latest examples.

When optimizing biotherapeutics, there are a host of design challenges that can slow the advancement of R&D programs, Adrian Stevens, a senior marketing manager at Accelrys, told FierceBiotech IT in an interview. He explained some of the specific challenges of antibody drugs, which are the fastest-growing segment of the drug industry.

"(With) synthetic antibodies, like we've designed them to be like glue--unfortunately they stick to themselves just as effectively as the thing we want them to target," Stevens said.

"As an industry, we typically try to focus on one problem at a time and optimize it. In the process, we can make (antibodies) unstable, aggregate and fall apart," he said. "That's the whole point of something like Discovery Studio--which has tools already in there for modeling protein-to-protein binding, has tools to model thermal stability and mutational stability."

- here's the Accelrys release
- check out the report in Bio-IT World

Editor's Note: The name of the Accelrys software that has been updated is Discovery Studio, not Design Studio, as had originally appeared in this report. The report has been corrected.