Scientists from Intact Genomics, University of Wisconsin – Madison and Northwestern University, Partnered to Build New Platform for the Discovery of New Drug Leads from the Microbial World

St. Louis – (June 12, 2017) Today scientists from St. Louis-based Intact Genomics, a world leader of research and services around large DNA fragment cloning and metagenomics related technologies; the University of Wisconsin – Madison; and Northwestern University, announced that their research to develop a new, scalable platform that harvests valuable lead compounds from fungi, using a technology known as Fungal Artificial Chromosomes with Metabolomic Scoring (FAC-MS) will be published in the Nature Chemical Biology June 12 issue.

The FAC-MS approach harnesses fungi to create powerful molecules honed through evolution by capturing large swaths of their DNA in a special system for robust production and identification of new molecules.  Most notable, the company has also developed another disruptive technology of soil shuttle BAC-NGS (next generation sequencing) to capture 100-kb large DNA directly from soil and environmental uncultivable microbes for large-scale natural product discovery.

The new 100-kb large DNA platforms will transform the process of discovering new bioactive molecules for application to numerous human diseases through the systematic discovery of new drug leads from the microbial world.

The published work shows how one of Intact Genomics products, the genome-based 100-kb large DNA technologies, is used to revive large-scale natural products and drug discovery for the biosynthetic industry, pharmaceutical companies, agriculture, bioenergy, and environment protection. A significant amount for the funding of the research to build and test the company’s genome-based 100KB large DNA technologies, was funded through a total $1.8 million NIH SBIR Phase II grant from May 2014 to April 2016.

Founded in 2013 by Dr. Chengcang Charles Wu along with Rosa Ye, his wife, Intact Genomics is based at the Helix Center Biotech Incubator and has six full-time employees.

Dr. Wu explained that he and Rosa were drawn to St. Louis when they knew they wanted to start a business because it offered the necessary biotech infrastructure, access to research talent, and ideal community to raise a family.

“When I turned 50 years-old in 2013, I knew that if I didn’t start my company now that it might be too late. Rosa and I like to explore new places so we visited San Diego, the North Carolina Research Triangle Park, Boston and St. Louis. We choose St. Louis because it has a good environment for biotech startups and family life,” said Dr. Wu.

During the past four years, Intact Genomics has developed more than 40 new molecular biology products including Escherichia coli competent cells (highest transformation efficiency in the market), Enzymes, Real-time PCR kits, Real-time qPCR kits, and cloning kits, and many of its clients are international academic institutes and corporations.

Rosa added, “We fell in love with St. Louis the first time we came here. As entrepreneurs, we did what we had to do. In 2013, we rented a U-Haul, left our house behind in Madison, Wisconsin, and rented a two-bedroom apartment less than one mile from the Helix Biotech Incubator. Four years later, Charles and I are thrilled to be here in this position to produce life-saving products. We have an amazing team of scientists, the encouragement from our family, and the support of the St. Louis community.”

St. Louis-based, Intact Genomics, a world leader of research and services around large DNA fragment cloning and metagenomics related technologies, helps scientists explore the genome structure and function of microorganisms, plants, and animal species. To learn more, click here.


Research published in the Nature Chemical Biology June 12 issue

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