Hybrigenics Services uses its databases to help clients identify and validate protein-interaction targets and find small molecules to inhibit them. The databases, which contain hundreds of thousands of interactions, provide a reference technology for comparing data and assigning confidence scores for interactions. “The data and our experience improves statistical scores for verification,” says Dr. Selig.
The firm offers three types of services—Discover, Validate, and Inhibit. This grew out of the platform used by Hybrigenics Pharma, another division of Hybrigenics, to find new cancer drugs in-house. “Selling a core competency that we use for our own R&D pipeline is another guarantee of quality,” explains Dr. Selig.
Discover uses ULTImate Y2H to find new targets. Validate is a set of tools to help researchers validate the functions of protein interactions in cells. Finally, Inhibit is a screening platform that looks for small molecules and other chemical compounds that block specific protein-protein interactions identified in the first two steps.
Clients can get help from Hybrigenics Services at any stage of drug development. Nearly 90% of clients are working in the discovery stage, and most are seeking inhibitors for protein-protein interactions.
“We have hundreds of thousands of compounds in our libraries,” reports Dr. Selig says, “and we always find inhibitors in our assays. We have mastered the protein-interaction technology and have customized assays that find small molecules.”
About three years ago Hybrigenics Services teamed up with L’Oreal to discover new interactions among skin proteins. Small molecule inhibitors were identified through chemical screening to advance L’Oreal’s research into innovative cosmetics. L’Oreal provided hair and skin samples, and Hybrigenics Services built highly complex DNA libraries, then screened them for interactions using the ULTImate Y2H technology.
A new interaction between two skin proteins was detected. L’Oreal researchers are currently testing compounds from Hybrigenics’ chemical library, which appear capable of inhibiting the reaction, as starting materials to design novel cosmetics.