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January 24, 2017
By Kayla Liederbach
Designing Drugs In Silico: An Interview With Ed Painter of A2A Pharmaceuticals

What if people suffering from cancer, tuberculosis, and other life-threatening diseases didn’t have to wait as long for the right drugs to be developed to help them stay alive? A2A Pharmaceuticals is a biotechnology company committed to the advancement of innovative scientific research and new therapeutic agents. We asked the company’s founder, Ed Painter, a few questions:

Tell me about your background, how did you get interested in the science/biotech space?
From my initial exposure to biotech companies like Amgen and Genentech doing research on cancer and other life threatening diseases around 20 years ago, I have been fascinated with process of building businesses around critical therapeutics. My success with investments in public companies gave me a great understanding of what is needed to make a company succeed.

What problem are you working to solve with your company, A2A Pharmaceuticals?
With A2A Pharmaceuticals we are addressing the extremely high cost and long time needed to make new therapeutics available to patients. We use both proprietary and commercially available software to make the process dramatically less expensive, faster and more likely to result in success.

 

“With A2A Pharmaceuticals we are addressing the extremely high cost and long time needed to make new therapeutics available to patients.”

 

If you could only pick one thing to validate your reason for forming a startup, what would it be? In other words, what would be the single biggest indicator to you that you are doing the right thing?
Few people get a chance to save a person’s life. That is the greatest accomplishment to which A2A aspires.

How do you think success can change your industry?
By illustrating the effectiveness of using computational tools to develop new drug candidates, we hope to help drive more interest and investment in software tools that can help get new medications to patients.

How is your team uniquely able to tackle this? What’s the expertise?
The capabilities of A2A’s team range from founder Sridhar Vempati’s skills with selection of disease targets to Brendan Kelly’s skills with development and use of drug design tools.

Any big lessons learned transitioning to startup entrepreneurship?
We are learning every day. The lessons most critical include making sure employees are happy and the power of networking to find the people who will make the company work.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve encountered so far?
One of the most important dynamics we face on a daily basis is the need to manage expectations as we strive to exceed.

What are the big goals and milestones you’re looking to hit in the short term? Long term?
A2A is currently doing proof of concept work on a Leukemia drug. We hope to have positive results before the end of January. We are also working on partnerships with other pharmaceutical companies to help advance our new drug programs for cancer and drug-resistant bacterial infections as well as programs conceived by third parties.

Learn more about A2A Pharmaceuticals by watching Ed pitch on IndieBio Demo Day Feb. 9th! Register for the event or LiveStream here