InterMed Discovery: The World's Largest Natural Product Library




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Video title: InterMed Discovery: The World's Largest Natural Product Library
Released on: September 23, 2008. © PharmaVentures Ltd
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  • Summary
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In this interview Fintan Walton talks to Mr Erik Metz, Head of Business Development at InterMed Discovery - a Natural Product lead discovery company from Dortmund, Germany. Erik Metz explains how InterMed Discovery made use of the assets it brought out of Bayer HealthCare AG to diversify its target market and make its services available to biotech, pharmaceutical, food and cosmetic companies. Having explored the origins of the company he discusses what the future holds for InterMed Discovery, focusing on the company's plans to develop its own therapeutic portfolio either by a strategic partnership or by raising capital independently.
Company origin and acquiring assets from Bayer HealthCare
Fintan Walton:
Hello and welcome to Pharmaventures business review here live in San Diego California. On this show I have Erik Metz who is head of business development at the company InterMed Discovery based in Dortmund, Germany. Welcome to the show.
Erik Metz:
Thank you.
Fintan Walton:
Erik MetzInterMed Discovery is a company that came of Bayer a couple of years ago when Bayer was undergoing its major restructuring. It came out of the natural product discovery drug discovery unit at Bayer. Tell us what that unit was originally and what was the opportunity? Why was the opportunity there to set up InterMed Discovery?
Erik Metz:
Yes so our group of people working for Bayer healthcare as the global drug discovery unit for Bayer we worked with natural products only so we worked for all the R&D facilities worldwide. Due to reorganizations at that time we lost lot of our internal customers because some of R&D facilities was being closed. So therefore we offered to Bayer the opportunity to do this management buyout and indeed in 2006 we were a new company.
Fintan Walton:
Well so clearly that was a new challenge for those people who were who joined InterMed Discovery at that particular moment and clearly as you say at that time Bayer most of the work going on in that unit were servicing internal Bayer needs. Now you are out on your own you have to do things on your own. So what did you bring what did the management bring out of out of Bayer this great InterMed discovery business?
Erik Metz:
So we took over most of the personal that it was of course very important as well and we took over all the assets including a large natural product library. So at the moment we have the largest collection of natural products in the world which are now available of course to clients. So clients can use our natural product collection to do screening for finding new lead candidates, yeah that's the most important thing of course.
Technologies and competences focusing on biotech, food and cosmetic industry
Fintan Walton:
I mean one of the other thing you did bring you had some technologies there is the IND bio profiling and In silico as well. I mean how important are those technologies?
Erik Metz:
Very important for finding new lead candidates because you must see as a lead discovery engine and we use this IND bio profiling to find quickly new lead candidates for the life sciences industry but also for the food and cosmetic industry as well. So this IND bio profiling consists of data or streaming data of (indiscernable)targets. So we have a lot of information on screening campaigns which we now can use for instance to create targeted libraries because the client can come to us with a certain request and we can then do some data mining and provide back to the customer this lead candidates from what we know have shown a bioactivity and that was very important to fight bio active components.
Fintan Walton:
So the company at the moment because of the assets it took from outside of Bayer includes the capability to develop your own compounds but also to provide service back to the pharmaceutical industry?
Erik Metz:
Yes
Fintan Walton:
So when you are talking about trying to talking about other pharmaceutical to you and using your competencies?
Erik Metz:
Yes. Pharmaceutical but also biotech small biotech companies but also of course other areas of interest like the food industry is using of course these natural products as well as the cosmetic industry.
Fintan Walton:
So you've diversified the range of activities in a broader way than the Bayer did?
Erik Metz:
That's correct because now we can we can focus more widely to other areas as well. So one of things what also came out of InterMed discovery now is this pipeline of food projects so we created really quickly in only three years a portfolio of ten new lead candidates who can have an interest in the food industry for instance.
Fintan Walton:
Right. So I mean clearly when you are starting out as a fresh company when it only happened two years ago clearly cash flows are important bringing cash in so was the main focus then to try and obviously set up deals with other companies was that the primary focus?
Erik Metz:
That's really interesting because we were in the luckily in the situation that from the start we already had one big customer in the crop science department. So we already started with a big client for us and that's quite unique and of course there was a good situation for us.
Fintan Walton:
Right and that was that Bayer itself or?
Erik Metz:
Yes of course the crop science. We had it.
InterMed Discovery's pipeline, focussed therapeutic areas and their Trust in Natural products.
Fintan Walton:
Right so clearly that was an important cash flow for you for your organization and now the other thing again looking at the data that we have got on the you have got compounds quite a number of compounds still at the sort of pre discovery pre clinical level now what particular therapeutic areas you are focusing on those?
Erik Metz:
So we have a pipeline for the pharmaceutical industry there for oncology, CNS and anti infectives and those compounds well those projects have already started during the days of Bayer so we have quite some interesting data available and we are now looking for ways to further develop these candidates into the IND and phase 1. So we are most of these compounds are approximately 12 to 18 months to status so at this moment we are now looking for ways to further develop these either with partner or finding other ways to raise capital for it.
Fintan Walton:
So then that means obviously you need to decide which therapeutic areas you want to retain, the compounds which one is you gonna give away or license in strategic way is that decision to be made or you still working on that?
Erik Metz:
We are still working on that and this is a great opportunity now that we are here in San Diego to see how the feedback is? What the industry really likes?
Fintan Walton:
Right and what are they saying?
Erik Metz:
So far both sides so if see capitalists very interested to see how they can help for develop these compounds but I must say from smaller companies we had some interesting offers at this moment already to co develop these compounds into their next phase.
Fintan Walton:
Okay that sounds interesting. Now there will be a lot of companies involved in natural products in the past. It has a clearly there are lots of compounds are on the market that were derive the natural products it is a tough story historically. How do you see InterMed discovery being different from the other natural product companies?
Erik Metz:
Well we do see this pendulum is swinging back towards natural products because as we all know in the 90's everybody moved away from natural product and at this moment we see that the pendulum is it is swinging back towards natural products so that's a very interesting and for us of course we are in this very lucky situation that we still believe in natural product, we still believe that natural products will give us the new lease what everybody is so desperately looking for.
InterMed discovery's future Goals
Fintan Walton:
So what's the future for InterMed discovery and where do you see the business going?
Erik Metz:
We see it a twofold for one way is that we will be there the natural product we partnered for the clients so they can always come to us so that we can help them develop new lead candidates and on the other hand we have this great portfolio of compound what we want to develop into a marketable product.
Fintan Walton:
Okay. Well we wish you luck in the future of InterMed discovery and thank you Erik Metz for coming on the show. Thank you very much indeed.
Erik Metz:
Thank you so much.
Erik Metz
President and Chief Executive Officer
Erik Metz joined InterMed Discovery as Head of Business Development where he has specialised in product development for new applications and has applied his experience in intercultural and multinational communication and business practice. Prior to joining InterMed Discovery Mr Erik Metz worked for several years as Section Head North America at AnalytiCon Discovery where he had key accounts in the pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and cosmetic industries. He has also held the position of Account Development Manager at both Thermo Fisher Scientific and Thermo Electron. Mr Erik Metz gained his academic qualifications from Hogeschool van Amsterdam and HBO University Netherlands.
InterMed Discovery
InterMed Discovery was founded in 2006 in a management buyout of the Natural Products Research Unit of BAYER HealthCare AG. As a Natural Product lead-discovery company, generating novel product candidates for the life science, food and cosmetics industries, it has been able to use its pedigree to draw on over 20 years of Natural Product research. At its foundation the company possessed over 6 patents and since being founded they have initiated work on an additional 5 patents. InterMed Discovery produces proprietary product pipelines of early stage pharmaceuticals and functional ingredients and also has partners in research and lead generation. Biologically characterised product leads are identified using a proprietary bioinformatics platform drawing on screening results compiled over many years. InterMed Discovery adds to this the industry's largest collections of pure compounds, sample fractions and mixtures as its source for potential Natural Product leads. The company is situated in Dortmund, Germany at the BioTech Centre, where its laboratories contain libraries of more than 150,000 screening samples and compounds and production facilities for micro- to multi-gram scales. It currently employs a staff of thirty people, sixteen of whom are dedicated to research.