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New biotech company giving private-sector boost to SA drug development research
January 26, 2017

CytoBioscience CEO James Garvin said San Antonio's bioscience industry will benefit from new private-sector support. W. SCOTT BAILEY | SABJ

By W. Scott Bailey, San Antonio Business Journal

CytoBioscience's new company, SolubleBioscience, is contributing first-of-its-kind technology to San Antonio's Center for Innovative Drug Development.

SolubleBioscience has yet to move its headquarters to San Antonio, but it's already having a direct impact on advancing drug development in the Alamo City. The Birmingham, Alabama-based biotech company, recently acquired by CytoBioscience, is contributing new technology to the Center for Innovative Drug Discovery that could prove to be a game changer for researchers and patients.

SolubleBioscience, a new wholly owned subsidiary of CytoBioscience, has developed an instrument called the HSC, which uses proprietary technology to combine high throughput analytical capabilities with a predictive algorithm to optimize protein formulations.

The gesture by CytoBioscience and SolubleBioscience is part of a larger effort by the two companies to bring more private-sector support to the Center for Innovative Drug Discovery - or CIDD - and to San Antonio's bioscience sector.

UT Health President Dr. William Henrich said the HSC instrument, the first of its kind in the world, will expedite San Antonio scientists' efforts to move research findings from the laboratory to discovery and ultimately to patient treatments. The instrument, which costs $225,000 each, represents a significant advancement in science, shortening the formulation process from a full year to less than two months.

James Garvin, CEO of CytoBioscience, which moved its headquarters from Germany to San Antonio in 2015 - said the HSC will improve the accuracy and expediency of research work at the CIDD.

I previously reported that CytoBioscience plans to move SolubleBioscience from Birmingham to San Antonio before the end of the year. That's a key reason why UT Health and UTSA are the first academic institutions in the world to get SolubleBioscience's HSC technology.

"One of the things I believe with all my heart is that we have to be good corporate citizens and we have to work with our community partners," Garvin said. "UT Health is one of our best partners. So, to me, this was a no brainer. This is great technology. We wanted to work with one of our partners who could really use it and see what we can do together."

Bruce Nicholson, founder of the CIDD, said the gift will go to the center's High Throughput/Content Screening facility on UT Health's campus.

"It's the second gift we have received from CytoBioscience," Nicholson said. "What this new instrument will do is allow high throughput testing of solubilities. Many drugs need to be in high concentrations to be effective, but you can only get them to limited concentrations in a lab setting."

Nicholson is particularly impressed with the fact that help is coming from a pair of companies still getting their bearings in San Antonio.

"It's truly unprecedented," he said "Normally, academic institutions are not going to get access to this [technology]. But I think CytoBioscience's whole concept is that the best way to advance drug discovery is to build instruments that have industrial applications but to also share them with academia, which can fuel the enterprise and continue to generate discoveries. So this is very generous of them. But it's also forward thinking."

Matt Hart, director of the CIDD's high throughput screening facility, said the HSC will add a new dimension to the center's capabilities.

"This further emphasizes the importance of academic and industry collaboration," he said. "This type of collaboration is going to be key in growing the bioscience industry in San Antonio."


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