With the support of NMSBA, Biophagy is developing its patented combinations of potent autophagy drugs as a defense against resistant strains of tuberculosis.
Biophagy, an Albuquerque biopharmaceutical company, is developing drugs
that modulate autophagy — a ubiquitous process whereby cells eliminate
infectious organisms and unwanted, denatured materials. Implicated in the
body’s overall physiological health, autophagy’s decline exacerbates several
diseases including tuberculosis, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s, as well
as aging symptomology.
To design better drugs, Biophagy needed an understanding of how
autophagy is selectively stimulated; however, the company lacked the
necessary highly specialized equipment and expertise. Mary Ortner,
Biophagy’s president, reached out to NMSBA which linked her to Jeri Timlin
of Sandia National Laboratories to help discover the binding sites associated
with autophagy stimulants.
Timlin understood Sandia Labs’ unique ability to move this research forward
using highly specialized, hyperspectral confocal imaging to demonstrate
autophagy drug binding sites. Typically used for basic research, in this case
these imaging applications clearly had the potential to help patients in an
applied research setting.
The binding patterns discovered by Sandia Labs helped Biophagy to
understand and identify discrete autophagic mechanisms and to select
several molecules for its ongoing research into drug resistant tuberculosis.
Biophagy considers this work a stepping-stone towards amassing a larger
portfolio of intellectual property which will be attractive to future investors
and help the company become a world leader in bringing autophagy
modulators to the marketplace.