ORIG3N will make patient-derived cells available to Sharp Edge Labs for use in its drug discovery platform for genetic disorders, the companies said today, through a collaboration whose value was not disclosed.

The companies said their alliance will bring patients into the drug discovery process much earlier than during clinical testing of candidates, enhancing their ability to develop personalized treatments.

“By combining our technologies, we are tailoring treatments for specific patient populations from the very beginning, with the aim of delivering disease-modifying agents for diseases of high unmet need,” Sharp Edge Labs CEO Scott Sneddon said in a statement.

The collaboration will apply Sharp Edge Labs’ cellular imaging platform, designed to screen for drugs that can restore proper protein trafficking and thus treat inherited diseases. The platform uses a new class of targeted biosensors called Fluorogenic Activating Modules (FAMs), single-chain antibody fragments (scFvs) of approximately 140 amino acids that have been selected to bind and activate the fluorescence of specially designed dyes called Flurogens.

The company’s internal programs focus on cystic fibrosis, an inherited form of Parkinson's disease, and frontotemporal dementia.

In addition, the alliance will make use of ORIG3N’s LifeCapsule, which according to the company is the world's largest biorepository of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from crowd-sourced blood samples. For $99 a year, patients can add their sample to the LifeCapsule repository, learn how their samples are used in helping develop new treatments, have perennial access to their iPSCs, and gain access to new services as they emerge.

ORIG3N is reprogramming each blood sample into iPSCs that are used for growing different cell types, including neurons, heart cells, and liver cells. These cells provide a tool for accurate disease modeling and drug discovery research, the company said.

“Using iPSC technology accelerates the pace of drug development and is helping us move closer to being able to provide the right drug to the right patient and avoid the trial and error approach that often happens today,” added ORIG3N CEO Robin Y. Smith.

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