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A new way to discover

While microbes have proven to be a rich source of potent medicines, the translation of the chemical compounds derived from these sources has been laborious, hampered by the lack of mechanistic understanding of the intended target and limited to a small fraction of the earth’s microbes. Our platform systematically discovers evolutionarily refined molecules and their protein targets directly from fungal genomes.



Exploiting evolution’s chemistry

The global metagenome – comprising millions of microbial species – is a vast and largely unexplored territory for drug discovery.


Evolution has created adaptations to support life, including chemical compounds known as secondary metabolites that target disease-causing proteins. As humans, we share thousands of the same genes as microbes, particularly fungi. As a result, encoded in microbial genomes are untold potent and drug-like compounds that bind to human proteins and are applicable in the treatment of human disease.

For decades, scientists have uncovered medicines in nature’s DNA. 49% of small molecule cancer drugs and 73% of all antibiotics originated from molecules derived from organic sources. Examples include some of the most widely-used medicines today, including the antibiotic penicillin, the cholesterol-lowering drug lovastatin, a class of chemotherapy drugs called taxanes and the immunosuppressant, cyclosporine.


1% of the world’s microbial genomes have been sequenced. Several of the existing blockbuster drugs were discovered here.

99% of microbial
genomes have yet to
be sequenced

Vast troves of new medicines are waiting to be surfaced.

Our unique approach

Groundbreaking technologies of the last decade including DNA sequencing, machine learning and synthetic biology have radically changed the opportunity. Mining these hidden compounds is suddenly possible. With our proprietary platform, we have built the tools for efficient, rational and scale-able drug discovery.

Drug-Target Prediction

Our TICker algorithm computationally predicts microbial secondary metabolites that inhibit human disease proteins and prioritizes them among thousands of candidates

DNA Sequencing

We are building the world’s largest database of microbial metabolites, giving us ready access to thousands of diverse, unstudied chemicals

Compound Production

Our HEx platform produces novel compounds using heterologous expression, an approach that allows forced expression of the secondary metabolites of interest. The result is new chemical entities based on novel chemical scaffolds – potential medicines that may offer entirely new ways to treat disease.

Solving for the undruggable

Many of the chemicals produced by the earth’s biodiversity target core pathways implicated in many human diseases such as cancer, metabolic diseases, immune dysfunction, cardiovascular diseases and others.

Many of these diseases are exceedingly hard to drug due to the shape or structure of their protein targets, yet nature has designed complex, elegant solutions to modulate these otherwise undruggable targets.

We are capitalizing on evolution’s solutions to overcome the limitations of traditional drug discovery.

We are taking aim at some of the most intractable diseases that have evaded current approaches, starting with cancer and infectious disease.


Humans and fungi share many of the same pathways that go awry in cancer, including growth pathways (RAS, TOR), DNA repair, cell cycle, transcription and translation, creating broad opportunities to discover and develop new small molecule approaches to treating patients with intractable cancers.


There is a constant need for novel agents to fight bacterial, fungal and parasitic infections, particularly as new resistance mechanisms emerge. Fungal genes that do not exist in humans are excellent candidates for novel targets with potential for reduced toxicity in patients.

Partner with us

Given the enormity of the potential, we have ongoing collaborations with academic, governmental and industrial entities for genome sequencing projects. We are also pursuing drug development collaborations with pharmaceutical companies that share our vision for turning the earth’s DNA into novel medicines for patients. If you are interested in partnering with us, please get in touch.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Hexagon has been awarded a two-year grant from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to apply its fungal genome mining platform to identify natural products that benefit individuals impacted by Malaria and Tuberculosis.

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