Mironid Ltd, co-founded by Dr Paul Rodgers of Ithaka, awarded Innovate UK Biomedical Catalyst grant.
Glasgow, Scotland, 30th January 2017: Mironid® Limited, a leader in cell signalling-directed drug discovery, is delighted to start the New Year by initiating a £606K programme to expand its repertoire of proprietary LoAc® molecules. The work will be 70% funded by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, through a Biomedical Catalyst Grant, a highly competitive source of funding that is reviewed by technical, commercial and investment specialists.
Mironid® will work closely with Sygnature Discovery, the UK's largest independent provider of integrated drug discovery resource and expertise, and Peak Proteins, UK specialists in protein crystallography, to discover new high quality chemical starting points for its novel LoAc® therapeutic approach. This programme exploits the pioneering work of Professor Miles Houslay, one of the founders of Mironid®, to develop small molecule positive modulators of Phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4) enzymes, which break down cyclic AMP (cAMP), a critical intra-cellular signalling molecule. A high-quality compound library from BioAscent, plus computational modelling and protein X-ray crystallography will be used to generate the next wave of PDE4 regulating molecules unique to Mironid®. These molecules will form the basis of new therapies against diseases driven by elevated cAMP, such as Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease (ADPKD).
ADPKD is a devastating, life-threatening and currently incurable genetic disorder in which kidney cysts progressively form throughout life. Cyst formation is driven by excessive generation of the cell signalling molecule, cAMP and causes a wide range of health problems including abdominal pain, high blood pressure and urinary tract infections, eventually leading to kidney failure. ADPKD affects around 12.5 million people worldwide, with around 50% requiring treatment for kidney failure by the age of 60.
Professor Miles Houslay, CSO of Mironid®, said: “The cAMP signalling pathway and, in particular, the PDE4 enzyme class, is an under-exploited target class with still so much to offer in the way of novel therapies. My colleagues and I are delighted with this strong support and recognition from Innovate UK. This funding will allow Mironid to leverage its expertise in PDE4 mechanistic biochemistry, together with the advanced capabilities of the UK’s first class life science contract research sector to deliver effective medicines more quickly”.
Mironid® Limited, based in Scotland, UK, is an innovative drug discovery company that develops proprietary drug candidate molecules by modulating the activity of key PDE4 enzymes. The Company’s founders include Prof Miles Houslay who has spent over 30 years investigating the mechanisms of PDE biology while consulting for many of the world’s top Pharmaceutical companies including working with Celgene Corp to develop from inception the PDE4 inhibitor, Apremilast, which is used to treat psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
About Innovate UK
Innovate UK is the UK's innovation agency. Innovate UK is an executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, which works with people, companies and partner organisations to find and drive the science and technology innovations that will grow the UK economy. Since 2007, Innovate UK has committed over £1.8 billion to innovation, matched by a similar amount in partner and business funding. The agency has helped more than 7,600 organisations with projects estimated to add more than £11.5 billion to the UK economy and create 55,000 extra new jobs.
About Sygnature Discovery
Sygnature, founded in 2004, operates a fully-enabled research facility in Nottingham, UK, housing over 140 experienced scientists with all the professional skills required to take on board the most demanding of drug discovery projects and drive them towards a successful outcome. The company undertakes target validation, hit identification, hit-to-lead and lead optimisation projects. Sygnature’s capabilities include medicinal chemistry, bioscience, computational chemistry and DMPK. Since 2011, 8 drug candidates have entered the clinic which were invented at Sygnature.
About Peak Proteins
Peak Proteins Limited based at Alderley Park, Cheshire is a small recently formed CRO, specialising in high quality production and purification of proteins in addition to structure determination by X-ray crystallography. The company is able to leverage several decades of prior pharmaceutical industry experience in successfully delivering protein reagents and X-ray structures to wide range of drug discovery projects.
BioAscent Discovery Ltd.
Founded in 2013, BioAscent is the rejuvenated former Merck Sharpe and Dohme (MSD) automated compound management and logistics facility, based within the BioCity Scotland site at Newhouse, Scotland, UK. The company consists of a state-of-the-art facility run by a range of highly skilled management, scientists, and technicians with extensive experience in managing specialist compound libraries. It offers the safe and secure storage of customer compound collections, in addition to formatting and worldwide logistics. In addition to collection management and distribution, BioAscent provides access to chemical collections through www.compoundcloud.com, offering a completely customisable ex-pharma compound collection in ready to screen formats. Compound Cloud is also used to promote novel compound collections on behalf of owners to the world-wide BioAscent drug discovery network.
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Following the formation of CYP Design Ltd (CYPDESIGN™) by Ithaka Life Sciences and De Montfort University (DMU) we are pleased to announce that CYPDESIGN™ has been awarded funding by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory’s (Dstl) Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE) to help validate an automated platform for discovery of safe, effective, broad-spectrum anti-bacterial compounds.
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Ithaka is pleased to announce that ProteinLogic, a biomarker discovery and exploitation company, Microtest Diagnostics, an in vitro diagnostic protein multiplexing company, and its collaborators have been awarded a grant by the government-backed Technology Strategy Board - the UK’s national innovation agency - to help support the development of MICROLOGIC™, a rapid point-of-care test for tuberculosis (TB). Ithaka’s founder and Managing Director, Dr Paul Rodgers, is Executive Chairman of ProteinLogic.
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Ithaka is pleased to announce that Dr Paul Rodgers (Managing Director) and Dr Bill Primrose (Consultant) have written a chapter for the recently published 3rd Edition of The Innovation Handbook. The Innovation Handbook is a practical guide to the effective management and commercial exploitation of ideas and knowledge, allowing companies to move ahead of their competitors, offer real value to customers and boost their profitability. Endorsed by the UK's Intellectual Property Office and the Technology Strategy Board, The Innovation Handbook offers advice and commentary from leading players in the technology, branding, design, intellectual property and innovation fields. The book is published by Kogan Page.
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Following the formation of CYP Design Ltd (CDL) by Ithaka Life Sciences and De Montfort University (DMU) we are pleased to announce that CDL has completed a seed funding round led by Mercia Fund Management Ltd (MFM) under the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS). CDL is a spin out from the Leicester School of Pharmacy, part of the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences at DMU. The company was founded to market new technology designed to speed up and reduce the cost of the development of new drugs and medicines.
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ProteinLogic, the biomarker discovery and exploitation company, was judged to have presented the strongest proposal in the Med Tech category to the Innovators’ Den at the NHS Healthcare Innovation Expo 2013 in London on March 14th.
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Ithaka Life Sciences client ProteinLogic has been awarded Technology Strategy Board funding to support its research into a novel diagnostic test for tuberculosis
Ithaka Life Sciences and De Montfort University spin out new drug discovery company
De Montfort University (DMU) has come together with a leading UK-based life sciences commercialisation company, Ithaka Life Sciences Ltd (Ithaka), to market new technology designed to speed up and reduce the cost of the development of new drugs and medicines.
A leading expert at DMU, Professor Bob Chaudhuri, has invented the technology which will provide useful new products and services, based on a set of proteins, named cytochrome P450s (CYPs).
CYPs are found in the human liver and are mostly responsible for the metabolism of drugs in people. These proteins are commercially available for use by companies involved in the discovery of new drugs, but are inconvenient to use as they must be transported and stored at temperatures as low as minus 80 degrees Celsius.
This new technology allows for CYPs to be shipped and handled at room temperature, eliminating the need for a cold chain. This will reduce the cost and make their use in testing new drugs much quicker and easier.
Together, DMU and Ithaka have established a new company which will be called CYP Design Ltd (CDL).
Professor Chaudhuri said: "The development of new drugs can be very time-consuming and costly. It can take up to 14 years from the initial idea and cost hundreds of millions of pounds. Thousands of potential new drugs are tested initially for every one successfully brought to market.
"Early drug discovery work has to identify new chemical compounds which are potentially useful without being toxic to humans. Current testing methodologies do not address the problem as these model systems often react differently than humans to new chemicals.
"My group's development is designed to provide the proteins that are needed for this work in a cost effective and convenient format."
DMU has licensed this new technology to CDL which is now seeking to bring the new products to market. Ithaka has worked closely with Professor Chaudhuri to set up CDL and is leading the implementation of the business strategy through Dr Bill Primrose as CEO and Dr Paul Rodgers as Chairman.
Dr Bill Primrose said: "We're delighted to be working with DMU and believe that the technology that Professor Chaudhuri has been developing can have a significant impact on the timescales and costs involved in the early stages of drug discovery.
"CYPs are currently transported on dry ice, at around minus 80 degrees Celsius, and are stored as cold as possible in the customer's laboratory until they are needed.
"His new technology eliminates the need for a cold chain making it easier to manufacture and ship the proteins, and making them much more convenient for the customer to use."
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Dr Paul Rodgers, Managing Director of Ithaka Life Sciences, the leading provider of consultancy and management services to new and growing life science businesses, has been appointed as Executive Chairman of ProteinLogic, the biomarker discovery and exploitation company.
Dr Paul Rodgers has recently been published in the 2nd edition of The Innovation Handbook (Kogan Page Ltd).
Ithaka Life Sciences, the leading provider of consultancy and interim management services to new and growing life science businesses, has appointed Dr Richard Cumming as new Consultant for Southern England.
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Presentation to Cambridge University BioScience Enterprise postgraduate course
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