Streamlined multidisciplinary research for cancer and autoimmune diseases

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Merrimack Pharmaceuticals is using SimBiology from The MathWorks to streamline its research into the treatment of autoimmune diseases and cancer.



SimBiology plays a big role in Merrimack’s multidisciplinary platform, Network Biology, which seeks to understand the system dynamics that govern protein networks and to find the set of proteins that control a cell’s behaviour.

SimBiology helps by combining the various components across the platform. By linking both engineering and biological disciplines, the software provides a better analysis and simulation of drug candidates.

The software has also played a role in the actual simulations of drug pathways and the systems reactions to inhibitors. Once the best inhibitor is identified, Merrimack’s computational biologists and researchers can work to produce drug candidates for preclinical testing.

‘The MathWorks tools have dramatically increased the speed with which we can identify drug candidates,’ explained Birgit Schoeberl, director of Network Biology at Merrimack Pharmaceuticals. ‘For example, a group of six researchers were able to create seven candidates in less than three years with SimBiology. That would’ve taken a lot more time without using modelling or by using multiple tools from other companies and it would have required that we learn three or four different software packages.’