The MoA Technology approach to herbicide discovery is first to acknowledge the lessons from the history of herbicide R&D, which point out the importance of in vivo screens and of paying attention to the symptomology caused by test compounds. Second, it is to bring the technologies of high throughput screening up to date with the use of artificial intelligence. The focus is on discovering new modes of action.
We have developed three proprietary platforms, each powerful in it's own right, but when used in combination they can revolutionize the early herbicide discovery process.
Screening in all three platforms is based on an in vivo plant model. This is important as it is widely accepted that in vivo models are better predictors of herbicide activity than standard in vitro models.
Three powerful platforms
MoA GALAXY™ is a high throughput screening (HTS) platform that generates rich data on the herbicidal activity of candidates in an in vivo plant model. It effectively takes a ‘fingerprint’ of each molecule tested. Artificial intelligence then homes in on chemicals with novel modes of action.
Hits from MoA GALAXY™ are then progressed to subsequent MoA Technology platforms.
MoA TARGET™ uses the in vivo plant model with the unique ability to quickly and efficiently identify new modes of action and their target proteins. These target proteins can then be confirmed as being found only in plants. Models that use simpler non-plant organisms will miss this unique “plant only” characteristic.
MoA SELECT™ the final component of the complete discovery platform. MoA SELECT™, takes the new herbicide chemistry, mode of action and target protein information to deliver a stream of molecules, some of which maybe structurally unrelated to the original, that are both herbicidally active and having the newly defined mode of action.
MoA Tech's platforms are miniaturized and digitized to rapidly test tens of thousands of diverse compounds per month to define their herbicidal activity and determine the protein linked to mode of action. The platforms use sub-microgram quantities of chemicals, allowing not only cost savings, but, crucially, the ability to test very dilute solutions of active ingredients in liquid form, including extracts from natural sources containing diverse sets of natural products.
This ability to test Nature’s chemistries will be vital in discovering effective, safe and environmentally friendly new herbicides from natural sources.
Miniaturization means that libraries containing chemicals only available in very small quantities and not previously screened by traditional methods requiring larger amounts, can now be searched for new, safer, herbicide solutions.
A fusion of technologies
Overall, MoA Technology platforms produce results on efficacy and mode of action from an empirical plant-based approach.
The “Fusion of the Technologies”, MoA GALAXY™, MoA TARGET™, and later MoA SELECT™, will be a powerful addition to currently deployed herbicide discovery platforms.
The use of the MoA Technology platforms will prove to be cost-effective in early screening while providing more fruitful hits for herbicide development pipelines.