San Diego Business Journal

Biotech upstart Sirenas LLC has landed a $775,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to discover potential therapies to treat neglected diseases.

Sirenas, headquartered in the General Atomics campus at 3550 General Atomics Court, is searching for therapeutic leads in marine organisms, such as sponges and algae.

“Marine organisms have evolved over hundreds of millions of years in highly competitive ecosystems, interacting with other organisms and creating complex symbiotic relationships,” said Eduardo Esquenazi, founder and CEO of Sirenas, in a statement. “As a result, these organisms develop chemistry that is far more diverse than what has evolved on land and it has the potential to lay a foundation for a broad assortment of highly impactful therapeutics.”

Sirenas uses proprietary software called Atlantis, which leverages machine learning and data-mining, to search thousands of marine molecules for drug potential. A group of chemists works alongside Atlantis to find and translate the most promising discoveries in areas of unmet disease need, including tuberculosis and malaria.