Domainex Ltd. and Imperial College London today announce a new partnership focused on the discovery of novel therapies to treat myocardial infarction, also known as a heart attack. This follows the success of Imperial in securing £3M in funding from the Wellcome Trust Seeding Drug Discovery programme to build upon the pioneering research of Professor Michael Schneider, the British Heart Foundation Simon Marks Chair in Regenerative Cardiology.
One of the key research activities of Professor Schneider’s group in Imperial’s National Heart and Lung Institute is to identify the enzyme pathways activated by cardiac stress that result in the apoptosis (programmed cell death) of cardiac muscle cells. The potential for using these findings to prevent cardiac muscle cell death following a heart attack has resulted in this research award from the Wellcome Trust. Domainex has been chosen as Imperial’s strategic drug discovery partner to provide services including biochemical and biophysical assay development, compound screening and medicinal chemistry to advance the project towards pre-clinical development.
Professor Schneider said, “Our target is activated, invariably, in diseased human hearts, and its suppression already protects human heart muscle cells from dying in the laboratory. If we can succeed in taking this forward as a new therapy for myocardial infarction, this would have major benefits for patients, their families, and healthcare providers alike.” He added “Based upon Domainex’s knowledge and approach to drug discovery, we anticipate a fruitful collaboration with them”.
Eddy Littler, Chief Executive Officer of Domainex said, “We are very pleased to have been selected by Professor Schneider and his world-renowned team at Imperial College London to work with his team in the pursuit of drug candidates to treat myocardial infarction. Domainex has supported a number of academic groups in securing funding from the Wellcome Trust and other funding bodies to help them advance their early stage discoveries towards clinical development.”
The Heart Research Institute reports that there are over 124,000 heart attacks in the UK each year. Many progress over time to heart failure (inadequate function of the heart as a biomechanical pump), which places a significant burden on the National Health Service.
Domainex will undertake integrated lead identification and optimisation studies on the serine/threonine protein kinase enzyme target mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase kinase kinase 4 (MAP4K4). In this collaboration Domainex will seek to deliver candidate drug molecules meeting a series of defined criteria.
About Imperial College London
Imperial College London is one of the world’s leading universities. The College’s 14,000 students and 7,500 staff are expanding the frontiers of knowledge in science, medicine, engineering and business, and translating their discoveries into benefits for society.
Founded in 1907, Imperial builds on a distinguished past – having pioneered penicillin, holography and fibre optics – to shape the future. Imperial researchers work across disciplines to improve global health, tackle climate change, develop sustainable energy technology and address security challenges. This blend of academic excellence and its real-world application feeds into Imperial’s exceptional learning environment, where students participate in research to push the limits of their degrees.
Imperial nurtures a dynamic enterprise culture, where collaborations with industrial, healthcare and international partners are the norm. In 2007, Imperial College London and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust formed the UK’s first Academic Health Science Centre. This unique partnership aims to improve the quality of life of patients and populations by taking new discoveries and translating them into new therapies as quickly as possible.
Imperial has nine London campuses, including its White City Campus: a 25 acre research and innovation centre in west London. At White City, researchers, businesses and higher education partners are co-locating to create value from ideas on a global scale.
Domainex Ltd. is a Cambridge-based small-molecule drug discovery company that provides integrated drug discovery services to pharmaceutical, biotechnology and academic partners globally. Services cover a wide span of the drug discovery value chain, from disease target validation to pre-clinical candidate nomination. Domainex’s services include recombinant protein expression and use of its proprietary technology platform, Combinatorial Domain Hunting to identify soluble protein fragments for structural biology and assay development. Hit finding activities encompass assay development and screening utilising its Bioassay Builder and LeadBuilder portfolios. The core of the service platform is undertaking multi-parameter medicinal chemistry optimisation of hits and leads under the mantra ‘every compound counts’, which can save up to 30% of average industry time.
Additionally, Domainex is investing in developing its own therapeutic compounds for out-licensing in two specific areas: 1) Inhibitors of the kinases TBK1 & IKK epsilon to treat inflammatory conditions such as COPD and psoriasis; 2) The emerging epigenetic target class of lysine methyltransferases potentially implicated in oncology, where to date Domainex has built a portfolio of drug discovery assets encompassing novel chemical matter, proprietary assays and crystal structures.
For more information please visit www.domainex.co.uk
About the Wellcome Trust
The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to improving health. We provide more than £700 million a year to support bright minds in science, the humanities and the social sciences, as well as education, public engagement and the application of research to medicine.
Our £18 billion investment portfolio gives us the independence to support such transformative work as the sequencing and understanding of the human genome, research that established front-line drugs for malaria, and Wellcome Collection, our free venue for the incurably curious that explores medicine, life and art. www.wellcome.ac.uk
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