48Hour Discovery awarded $800,000 to accelerate drug development

By Emily Rendell-Watson and Hiba Kamal-Choufi

University of Alberta biotechnology spin-off company 48Hour Discovery has been granted $800,000 to initiate peptide-based drug discovery using its patented drug discovery platform.

The funding of the two-year project came through the Montreal-based CQDM Quantum Leap program with support from Merck Canada, as a member of CQDM, as well as GlycoNe at the University of Alberta.

"Researchers at 48Hour Discovery will screen targets selected by Merck. Specially constructed libraries containing billions of peptides will be screened using phage display and proprietary bioinformatic algorithms to quickly identify hit compounds," CEO of 48Hour Discovery Ratmir Derda said in a statement.

"This valuable collaboration increases our ability to explore and deliver the therapeutic potential of our technology."

48Hour Discovery has been awarded $800,000 for peptide drug discovery. (Courtesy of 48Hour Discovery)

48Hour Discovery has been awarded $800,000 for peptide drug discovery. (Courtesy of 48Hour Discovery)

The company said the announcement indicates the importance of global markets for many innovative technology companies. 48Hour Discovery doesn't have any Canadian clients yet — sales have been to customers in Germany, USA, Singapore and Korea.

"Our collaboration with Merck shows that Edmonton-based companies commercializing technology developed at the University of Alberta can compete in the global race to develop new drugs and therapies," Derda told Taproot.

The U of A's GlycoNet is also providing funding support.

"As an organization investing in early, cutting-edge technologies, GlycoNet is proud to support 48Hour Discovery since its creation in accelerating drug discovery," said CEO of GlycoNet Elizabeth Nanak.