Boston – June 28, 2017: Silicon Therapeutics (STx), an integrated computational drug discovery company creating novel small molecule drugs for difficult to target proteins, today announced the appointment of Todd J. Martinez, PhD, Ehrsam and Franklin Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Photon Science at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory at Stanford University, as a member of its Scientific Advisory Board, Dr. Martinez’s appointment advances STX’s expertise in quantum mechanical simulations and applications, especially within the realm of metalloproteins, a class of promising drug targets that have proved challenging to conventional drug discovery approaches.
“Prof. Martinez is a brilliant scientist who is transforming the way quantum mechanics calculations can be run using specialized hardware,” says Dr. Woody Sherman, CSO at Silicon Therapeutics. “Quantum mechanics is the fundamental theory of nature at small scales and is the most accurate way to describe atomic and molecular behavior. However, these calculations are very computationally expensive for biomolecules and have historically been intractable using traditional hardware. Prof. Martinez is changing that paradigm by developing the most sophisticated algorithms for running quantum mechanics calculations on graphics processing units (GPUs), which we intend to use for studying protein-ligand systems. The use of quantum mechanics, coupled with molecular dynamics in our INSITE platform, will further improve the accuracy of protein-ligand binding calculations to unprecedented levels, especially in the context of metal binding proteins and covalent interactions, which cannot be described with classical physics. We are excited to work with Prof. Martinez to continue his groundbreaking work and fully deploy the value of quantum mechanics for drug discovery applications.”
Dr. Martinez has received numerous awards for his contributions, including a MacArthur Fellowship (commonly known as the “genius award”). He is co-editor of Annual Reviews in Physical Chemistry, associate editor of The Journal of Chemical Physics, and an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His methods are used both to design new molecules and to understand the behavior of those that already exist. Professor Martínez was born in Amityville, New York, but spent most of his childhood in Central America and the Caribbean. His chemical curiosity benefitted tremendously from the relaxed safety standards in Central American chemical supply houses, giving him unfettered access to strong acids and bases. When he also became interested in computation, limited or nonexistent computer access forced him to write and debug computer programs on paper. Today, Prof. Martínez combines these interests by working toward theoretical and computational modeling and design of molecules. Dr. Martínez received his PhD in chemistry from UCLA in 1994. After postdoctoral study at UCLA and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, he joined the faculty at the University of Illinois in 1996.
“I am excited by this opportunity to work with Silicon Therapeutics to demonstrate the power of Quantum Mechanical approaches in drug design and show how far the field has progressed not only theoretically but also for practical applications.” says Dr. Martinez “I have strong confidence that our future publications and results will be an important contribution to computational drug discovery, especially as it applies to metalloproteins.”
Silicon Therapeutics, the first fully integrated physics-driven drug discovery company, is focused on developing novel medicines for diseases with targets that are currently considered to be challenging for traditional approaches. Our platform closely represents the real dynamic nature of targets using accurate all-atom simulations, enabling us to gain deep insights into the biomolecular recognition process associated with targets that were previously considered “undruggable.” Our science, our team, and our mission are focused on applying advanced physics-based computational technologies to build and progress a pipeline of innovative medicines for patients. Silicon Therapeutics is headquartered in Boston, MA, USA with offices in Shanghai, China. Learn more at www.silicontx.com