Science has reached a bottleneck in finding small molecules in therapeutics for many diseases. One drug, one disease, and one target are being strongly contemplated for its lethal side effects. People like us, who are thinking of multiple molecules, have started developing acceptance.
A company situated in Bangalore, Atrimed Biotech LLP, is aimed at carrying out high-quality research and developmental activities. These are reinforced by qualified professional staff from diverse fields of science. The company is fostered by a group of healthcare and research professionals, who have extensive experience in the field of phytochemistry and biotechnology.
The founders are individuals who are actively involved in human healthcare and research and developmental activities. With major operation centers across Bangalore, like the Biology lab at Bangalore Bioinnovation Centre and Chemistry lab at Jigani, Atrimed is marching forward towards newer heights of success.
A Journey in Perfect Chemistry with Nature
Speaking about the motivating factors that led to its inception in 2016, Dr. Latha Damle, the CSO, asserts, “This might sound amusing but it’s true. One day, at a dinner with my friends that included allopathic doctors, I was hurled a question or rather an opinion! We work with evidence but you, meaning, doctors of traditional medicine do not. Being perplexed I asked them. What is ours and what is yours? Science is universal.” She continues, “Biochemistry belongs to me as much as it is to you or anybody. So is phytochemistry, so are the metabolic pathways, physiology, and traditional knowledge. In short ‘WE’ collectively have not cared to build evidence for a treasure of traditional knowledge. The treasure belongs to you or anybody as much as it does to me.”
This has been the point when the thought of creating a team from all the relevant fields that work to establish the Atrimed’s native knowledge to this day. It is now very well participating in catering to serious healthcare today.
During its initial days, Atrimed was often asked about, ‘what’s the company’s USP’. Speaking about the uniqueness of Atrimed, Dr. Damle says, “Being an academician, I wasn’t able to get this marketing term. I could have just said we have better medicines. But saying so doesn’t work in the existing jargon of entrepreneurship.” The company’s main tool was bioinformatics. Initially, it started structuring a tool and created a library of plant molecules and established a bioinformatics suite.
Atrimed Biotech is incubated at Bangalore Bioinnovation Centre. Atrimed is one of the two private labs in Asia to have such an Artificial Intelligence driven facility. Taking bioinformatics to the next level was done by creating a real library of plant molecules. The company faced a lot of adversaries related to the stability of plant molecules. Several veteran scientists, administrators of government facilities discouraged the company. But nothing deterred it because it, the team consisting of clinicians, had seen the results in patients. “So it’s like reverse pharmacology,” says Dr. Damle. It has seen results in the clinic, now Artimed needs to know if they really work or not.
The journey got more interesting as the company started seeing bioinformatics result co-relate with the texts. Biological studies validated its results and “it was not a wild gooses’ chase,” she continues. Thus Atrimed succeeded and is moving forward.
Vision, Mission &Values of Atrimed
The company strives to understand and investigate the traditional knowledge system to provide remedies to many untreatable diseases. With its noble vision to become a pioneer in plant chemistry and evaluating their biological activity, it wants to study all the flora of India and other countries, for biological activity through transdisciplinary research.
The company’s values focus on not harming the environment. So conducting safety and toxicity studies on all its products is of paramount importance. “Always be critical, unbiased and purely scientific in understanding medicine and research,” says Dr. Damle
The Experienced Leadership
The team of Atrimed is more of a research team rather than a commercial team. The company has consultants and advisers who have many years of experience in pharma marketing and hospital management. “We have one of the top auditing firms of Bangalore advising us on finances. We have a highly energetic team of scientists who work with full dedication and faith,” says Dr. Damle.
Distinct Products and Services
The company has its major focus on skin care products and one of its highlights is for Psoriasis, acne & pain management. The problem with acne is biofilms. The bacteria become resistant once it develops biofilms. Atrimed is working on targeting biofilms and looking for plants that can penetrate biofilms to work against acne. After many works, it has formulated them into a product called Aclear.
The company main area of focus is serious research. Atrimed is backed by cutting edge technology. It is the first to use computer-guided drug designing systems, backed by artificial intelligence, for drug development in plant medicine. Biotechnology techniques that it leverages are at par with top organizations across the world. The company does not rely on tests from single experimentation. It repeats the test in different models and verifies it several times.
One more important aspect is that Ayurveda with folk medicines account for about 5000 plants whereas India has about 45000 plants and 350000 across the globe. Due to its bioinformatics tool Atrimed is able to incorporate many other plant molecules, which were not used hitherto to the healthcare system. It has also started a project to study medicinal properties of plants of another continent.
High-Quality Research and Developmental Activities
The company approaches a disease from several angles. Speaking about this Dr. Damle asserts, “When we work on Psoriasis, we have extensively looked into various targets like cytokines IL17, IL23, TNF alpha, PDE4.” She continues, “We have also studied from the point of view of the skin microbiome in Psoriasis. We have looked into diet and Psoriasis. We have also planned to understand environmental factors in Psoriasis exacerbation. Our observation is from 360degrees.”As it is incubated at Bangalore Bioinnovation Centre, it has access to the best of instruments required for the research.
Atrimed has access to best instrumentation labs that include Proteomics and Small molecule analysis, Microbiology, Confocal facility, Flow cytometry, Histology lab, Plant tissue culture facility, Molecular biology, Bio-separation facility, etc. and High-end chromatography machines like HPLC, LCMS, GC for phytochemical analysis.
Atrimed Biotech is involved in widespread research of phytochemicals and their applications in the field of human medicine. It is truly a translational research company. This may be the only company where an Ayurvedic doctor heads, involves and understands every bit of the research work going on.
It has people from bioinformatics, medicinal chemistry, organic chemistry, synthetic chemistry. On the biology side, it also has molecular biologist, immunologists, geneticists, biotechnologists to help it. On the medical side, Atrimed has dermatologists, Gastroenterologists. The company has also collaborated with institutes to help in immunobiology, AMRs, and a very good in-vivo facility.
Atrimed’s working environment is very friendly and has a healthy work culture where all the scientists cordially work in tandem and are well connected. This is helping us to develop new therapeutic molecules. The company has several collaborations within India and abroad. It is currently in talks with investors to do further research and commercialize its products. It has finished Phase-2 study for Acne and Phase-3 is starting for Psoriasis.
Transforming Medicine with Bioinformatics & Biotechnology
Polypharmacology is a very difficult concept in modern biostatistics. But since Atrimed is creating models, which suit polypharmacology in bioinformatics it is able to predict with reasonable accuracy, the multiple molecules present in one mixture. Thus, it knows synergetic molecules or antagonists in plants. So the company ensures only agonist or antagonist, with which polyherbal combinations can be developed.
Also, bioinformatics cuts the cost by one-tenth in drug development research. Imagine having about 40000 proteins that are involved in physiology and pathology and having more than 40000 plants and if each plant has at least 5 therapeutic molecules still it is a huge number of few lakh thousand molecules. Screening them against 40000 proteins is a near impossible task for startups or anybody. So Atrimed is cutting this cost by using bioinformatics.
The company has also started coding for virtual skin, which can be an amazing study tool, to asses several aspects of oral and topical applications. It is happy that Atrimed is the first to create biotechnology models to validate this.
“Honestly we have been doing this work for many long years before talking to the public. In short, we are bridging the gap between modern science and traditional medical knowledge in the right manner,” asserts Dr. Damle
The Notable Awards and Future
Atrimed has won numerous awards in a very small time span. It is one of the winners of Elevate 100 awarded by Government of Karnataka, in 2017. It has also received a BIG grant, in 2018. The company was chosen to represent Indian pavilion at Bio-conclave at Boston in 2017 and 2018 back to back.
Atrimed plans to keep moving forward with the same zeal and focus in the future. The company is to finish the safety and toxicity profile and ensure the molecules are safe in the near future. It has two market segments.
One is of traditional medicine, cosmetics, and nutrition segments. The other is NCE business, which will depend on a strategic alliance. Atrimed will continue to develop data supported products for diseases like arthritis, allergies, acne diabetes, cancer, etc. Many among them have already been productized and collaborated for marketing, with reputed Pharma companies.