Ithaka Life Sciences and De Montfort University spin out new drug discovery companyIthaka 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."