Warp Drive is on hunt for natural gen-based treatments

Gregory Verdine is founder and CEO of Warp Drive Bio.
Gregory Verdine is founder and CEO of Warp Drive Bio.

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In early 2012, Warp Drive Bio raised $125 million, much of it from one of the world’s largest pharma companies. The selling point was a bold but unproven idea.

The Cambridge startup’s plan was to reinvent the process for discovering naturally derived compounds, with the aim of finding a large number of new compounds across a range of therapeutic areas, including cancer — and in relatively short order (at warp speed, you might say).

Two years later, “that idea has held up in every significant way,” said founder and chief executive Gregory Verdine. Dozens of new compounds that could eventually become drugs have been discovered already, and Warp Drive Bio now has a good chance of getting its first products into clinical trials by next year, he said.

Based on that early success, he said, the company expects to rework the arrangement it has with its big-pharma investor, Sanofi-Aventis.

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