DURHAM – Publicly-traded Heat Biologics is spinning off a company that will focus on developing a method that enables rapid drug development.

The spinoff, Skunkworx Bio, Inc., is developing what it calls “Pocket Biologics,” or therapeutics that are derived from its antibody and small protein libraries, the company said in its statement.

“Our unique process flips the paradigm of drug discovery, as it enables us to rapidly identify novel drug targets to determine if a target is druggable,” said Matt Seavey, Skunkworx’s Executive Director of Scientific Operations, in a statement.  “By utilizing this approach, we have been able to identify lead targets and already have several promising programs underway.”

The goal, stated on the company’s website, “is to “accelerate” the time from discovery to moving its drug leads into formal preclinical development.”

Morrisville’s Heat Biologics to double its R&D center, grow to 15,000+ sqft

Jeff Wolf, CEO of Heat Biologics, noted in a statement that the spinoff of Skunkworx will augments the company’s emerging drug development ecosystem, which is designed to efficiently move new biologic programs from discovery into the clinic.

“This integrated platform is focused on driving innovation by rapidly accelerating the drug development process,” said Wolf.  “We look forward to working with Skunkworx to advance a wide repertoire of drugs across a wide variety of indications, including biosecurity applications, an area of growing importance.”

Heat Biologics recently announced that it would double its Morrisville-based research and development facility, growing to some 15,000 square feet of space.