Despite the breakthrough nature of past successes in microbial discovery, relatively few small molecule discovery companies are reexamining the old ground of chemical compounds derived from microbial sources.

Ecopia BioSciences Inc. believes that by applying the tools of genomics and high throughput screening to comb through microbial genomes for the genetic basis of such molecules, the company has a high probability not only of identifying bioactive drug candidates, but of discovering sets of genetic and enzymatic tools that will allow it to tweak a lead molecule to improve specificity, stability or other characteristics.