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Toronto startup leads search for ebola treatments

Since its resurgence at the end of last year, ebola has claimed the lives of nearly 5,000 people in West Africa. Its return has sparked panic throughout the world and left researchers and officials scrambling to find a cure. 

Enter a Toronto-based startup called Chematria. The company may hold the key to stopping the disease before it spreads any further. 

Chematria has developed software that allows a supercomputer to analyze how thousands of different drugs might affect a disease like ebola. What’s game changing about the software is that allows researchers to skip the time consuming step of physically synthesizing and testing drugs. 

“We are going to explore the possible effectiveness of millions of drugs, something that used to take decades of physical research and tens of millions of dollars, in mere days with our technology,” says Dr Abraham Heifets, one of Chematria’s co-founders and its CEO. 

The company’s research is possible because it has access to IBM’s Blue Gene/Q, one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers. Chematria, which is based at the University of Toronto’s Impact Centre, has access to the supercomputer through the Ontario Smart Computing Innovation Partnership (SOSCIP), an agreement that grants 11 Ontario universities and their host of researchers access to IBM’s suite of supercomputers.

Although clinical trials will likely remain an important part of drug testing, Chematria’s research has the ability to dramatically reduce the time it takes to hone in on the drugs that have the best chance at treating a disease or illness. If the company is successful, the face of medicine could be changed forever. 

Source: Chematria
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