MechaSim: Dexterous Drug Design

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What good is a miracle pill if your body cannot absorb the medicine? There is a troubling proportion of orally administered drugs currently in the market that are not very efficient due to their poor solubility in water. MechaSim has made leaps and bounds of discovery in designing drugs with better bioavailability. With their current work in oncological medicine, they just might be the afterburner that the industry so desperately needs. MechaSim, a women-owned and led company founded by Drs. Oljora Rezhdo and Rebecca Carrier, tackles this issue from the perspective of food. The nutrients we consume play a significant role in metabolism, absorption, and excretion of pills we swallow.

Rebecca Carrier
Photo by Adam Glanzman/Northeastern University

Built upon on an impressive computational model developed by the founders, MechaSim is capable of predicting the oral absorption rate and other relevant pharmacokinetic constituents such as metabolism, distribution, and excretion. The algorithm, brought to life with funding and grants of over $225,000 from prestigious organizations such as NSF and NIH, considers the quantity and type of food substances, notably proteins and lipids, that were ingested along with the drug.

As these biomolecules are digested, the intestinal ecosystem undergoes a remarkable change in its chemical and physical nature. Gases are formed, liquid and semi-solid food is converted to solid waste, and enzymes break down large molecules into smaller molecules needed for the body to function. Any drug taken orally by a patient must withstand, or react predictably to, this controlled chaos of a process we call digestion.

MechaSim’s patented model computes the absorbability of medicines swallowed by factoring in the mechanical changes and chemical reactions of the protein-lipid mixture with significant accuracy. As a result, they are able to formulate drugs that display noticeably enhanced bioavailability through better informed design.

They made a drug that gets into your bloodstream better. So what?

Through MechSim’s pioneering computational model, some orally administered drugs have been redesigned for enhanced bioavailability. Regardless of being taken before or after food, the new design minimizes the quantity of medication needed to achieve maximum effect. As a result, drugs can be manufactured at lower doses. The significance of requiring a lower dose for the same effect is that the drug causes fewer GI complications, and the patient is not subject to as many drug-related dietary restrictions. the GI effects caused by medicines. Overall, the patient’s tolerance to the medication improves significantly. On a larger scale, when pharmaceutical companies buy in, drugs will be manufactured and sold at a lower cost than the present.

 

Written by Vijay Harisudan Sivasekar

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