So, Warp Drive was just acquired by Revolution Medicines. It was unfortunately not an acquisition based on strength, but both of the companies are Third Rock companies, and I have high regard for Third Rock, so hopefully the Warp Technology will survive. Warp was also co-founded by George Church, who trained me, and moreover, was originally based on a great idea, namely that the natural world is full of great drug compounds but that many of the compounds are not easily found by mass screening. That’s because 90-95% of the potential compounds are only made when the organism is induced by the right conditions to produce it. Otherwise, they’re cryptic – they are silent and waiting.
It sounds like despite having an enormous database, they weren’t able to make a go of this rather cunning idea, and pivoted to something else: something they’re calling SMART technology. The technology is illustrated below, but the idea is that they’re treating the rapamycin/FK506 backbone like a scaffold. Their idea is that the backbone of the molecule makes the molecule anchor onto FK506 binding protein. The complex is then more easily able to bind to other proteins. There is a detailed explanation here. They are hoping that this gets them over the age-old conundrum of trying to make small molecules disrupt protein-protein interaction (which is very hard).
Clever idea, let’s see if it works.