ACM Biolabs, a spin-off company from A*STAR’s Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE), will market novel plastic cell membranes to be used as low-cost, easily maintained drug targets that help shorten the drug discovery process.
How artificial cell membranes are created - Schematic showing how the artificial cell membranes are formed and their advantages over existing live cell culture methods.
What usually takes weeks or even months can now be done in a matter of days using these new materials. Combined with a robust scalability to large scale quantities, ACM’s artificial cell membranes may cut costs in the initial phase of drug discovery by up to two-thirds.
1. Artificial cell membranes (ACMs) are customised synthetic cell membranes that mimic live, targeted membrane proteins. The new technology allows the production of membrane proteins without the need for the specially controlled environments, conditions and training that is required in current live cell culture laboratories. ACM Biolabs’ products, which can be tailor-made to a pharmaceutical company’s specific drug testing requirements, are produced rapidly and are stable over a long period, leading to significantly reduced costs and streamlining of the currently tedious and cumbersome drug discovery process. The patented artificial cell membrane technology was first developed at A*STAR’s IMRE in 2009 by integrating biology with innovative materials science know-how and is now licensed to ACM Biolabs.
2. Cells communicate with each other and exchange vital molecules through their ‘skin’ or membranes, facilitated by specific proteins, or membrane proteins. Disruption of the communication pattern can lead to diseases such as cancer, diabetes, obesity, and Parkinson’s Disease. Understanding the working of membrane proteins is critical in creating medicines to combat diseases. ACM Biolabs has adapted natural cellular processes to invent a simple yet functional system, where synthetic materials are engineered to host membrane proteins. These include some membrane proteins that cannot currently be produced in a stable form using today’s cell-based technology, i.e. the so-called ‘hard targets’.
3. “Our proprietary artificial cell membrane technology is a unique combination of engineered polymer materials and biology that gives pharmaceutical companies a faster, cheaper alternative to current drug discovery methods,” said Dr Madhavan Nallani, a former IMRE scientist who is the founder and now the Director of ACM Biolabs, which produces these patented artificial cell membranes with customised membrane proteins.
4. “Our aim is to lower the entry barrier for more companies and labs to screen novel drugs, or test existing drugs on novel targets”, added Dr Nallani. “ACM Biolabs believes that our product can reduce the risk from some of the more daunting phases in the drug discovery process and allows the creation of a new generation of innovative drugs.”
5. “The commercialisation of this technology is an excellent example of A*STAR’s plan to push lab-based research into the marketplace,” said Prof Andy Hor, Executive Director of IMRE. “The success of this spin-off is also part of our efforts to create a generation of scientist-entrepreneurs that can help lead Singapore’s charge in a future knowledge-based economy”.
6. ACM Biolabs targets the drug discovery industry, especially the life science tools market, which is worth an estimated US$42 billion currently. Its technology will significantly impact the membrane protein related assays in the cell biology sector, which accounts for a third of the life science tools industry revenue and is expected to reach US$15 billion by 2015. The market potential is huge, especially for disruptive technologies like Artificial Cell Membranes, since the majority of known membrane proteins have yet to be explored as drug targets partly due to the difficulties in studying them in live cells. This serves as a validation for the company’s technology and also grows the company’s acceptance as a market provider of products and partner for expertise in membrane protein targets.
7. The award-winning Artificial Cell Membrane technology was first recognised as a finalist in the prestigious Asian Innovation Awards 2011 organised by The Wall Street Journal Asia. ACM Biolabs went on to win the “Most Innovative Start-up” award for its potential application in membrane protein drug screening analysis at the Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE)-ETPL Investor Forum held in June 2012. ACM Biolabs has also recently secured a SPRING Technology Enterprise Commercialisation Scheme (TECS) Proof-of-Value grant worth S$500,000 to help grow the start-up.For media enquiries, please contact:
About the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE)
The Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE) is a research institute of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). The Institute has capabilities in materials analysis & characterisation, design & growth, patterning & fabrication, and synthesis & integration. We house a range of state-of-the-art equipment for materials research including development, processing and characterisation. IMRE conducts a wide range of research, which includes novel materials for organic solar cells, photovoltaics, printed electronics, catalysis, bio-mimetics, microfluidics, quantum dots, heterostructures, sustainable materials, atom technology, etc. We collaborate actively with other research institutes, universities, public bodies, and a wide spectrum of industrial companies, both globally and locally. For more information about IMRE, please visit www.imre.a-star.edu.sg.
About Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)
The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) is Singapore's lead public sector agency that fosters world-class scientific research and talent to drive economic growth and transform Singapore into a vibrant knowledge-based and innovation driven economy.
In line with its mission-oriented mandate, A*STAR spearheads research and development in fields that are essential to growing Singapore’s manufacturing sector and catalysing new growth industries. A*STAR supports these economic clusters by providing intellectual, human and industrial capital to its partners in industry.
A*STAR oversees 18 biomedical sciences and physical sciences and engineering research entities, located in Biopolis and Fusionopolis, as well as their vicinity. These two R&D hubs house a bustling and diverse community of local and international research scientists and engineers from A*STAR’s research entities as well as a growing number of corporate laboratories.
Further reports about: > ACM > Artificial pump > Biolabs > Innovation Award > Parkinson’s Disease > cell death > cell membrane > cellular process > drug discovery > information technology > life science > membrane protein > membrane technology > quantum dot > solar cell > specific protein > synthetic material > wind energy R&D
Münster researchers make a fly’s heartbeat visible / Software automatically recognizes pulse
12.03.2018 | Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
3-D-written model to provide better understanding of cancer spread
05.03.2018 | Purdue University
Satellites in near-Earth orbit are at risk due to the steady increase in space debris. But their mission in the areas of telecommunications, navigation or weather forecasts is essential for society. Fraunhofer FHR therefore develops radar-based systems which allow the detection, tracking and cataloging of even the smallest particles of debris. Satellite operators who have access to our data are in a better position to plan evasive maneuvers and prevent destructive collisions. From April, 25-29 2018, Fraunhofer FHR and its partners will exhibit the complementary radar systems TIRA and GESTRA as well as the latest radar techniques for space observation across three stands at the ILA Berlin.
The "traffic situation" in space is very tense: the Earth is currently being orbited not only by countless satellites but also by a large volume of space...
An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.
The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...
In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.
Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...
Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.
They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...
A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...
23.03.2018 | Event News
19.03.2018 | Event News
16.03.2018 | Event News
23.03.2018 | Materials Sciences
23.03.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
23.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy