Belfast and Cambridge, UK, 26th April 2016 / Queen’s University Belfast and Domainex Ltd. announced today that they have secured a late-stage award from the Wellcome Trust Seeding Drug Discovery scheme to advance therapeutic candidate molecules into clinical evaluation for treatment of non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC).
The cell death regulatory protein FLIP is believed to be a key regulator of tumour cell survival that promotes tumour growth and resistance to standard therapies. The award will allow the partners to accelerate the optimisation and early development of first-in-class small molecule inhibitors that block FLIP’s pro-survival functions. The inhibitors invented by the team have already shown efficacy in pre-clinical models of NSCLC, a disease that represents around 90% of all lung cancers diagnosed and accounts for the highest rate of cancer death worldwide, with over one million deaths annually.
This next phase of the collaboration will allow the completion of pre-clinical studies and progression of the inhibitors to first in human phase 1 clinical evaluation following regulatory approval. Trevor Perrior, Research Director at Domainex, commented: “We are delighted to continue our successful partnership with Dr. Daniel Longley, Prof. Timothy Harrison and their team at Queen’s University Belfast. The additional funding secured from the Wellcome Trust is a clear endorsement of the strength of the integrated drug discovery platform of Domainex to deliver compounds with the potential to provide life-changing treatments for serious diseases. Domainex will continue to provide its expertise in medicinal chemistry, ADME and physicochemical profiling. We remain deeply committed to supporting academic translational research. We look forward to working further with Dan, Tim and their colleagues to take our jointly-discovered compounds into patients.”
Dr Daniel Longley added: “Resistance to current treatments for non-small cell lung cancer and other cancers is a major clinical problem. Our work at Queen’s has demonstrated that FLIP is frequently overexpressed in non-small cell lung cancer and other cancers and that this promotes resistance to chemotherapy. More recently, we have found that FLIP also promotes resistance to radiotherapy. Targeting FLIP directly is extremely challenging; however, by combining our understanding of the biology of FLIP with the expertise of the team at Domainex, we have now developed first-in-class small-molecule FLIP inhibitors that this award from the Wellcome Trust will enable us to take all the way into clinical evaluation in patients”.
Cancer Research at Queen’s University Belfast
The Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology (CCRCB) was developed with the explicit aim of translating basic scientific programmes into the clinical arena and is a dynamic research Centre within the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences in Queen’s University Belfast. Adjacent to the Northern Ireland Clinical Cancer Centre on the Belfast City Hospital campus, CCRCB is the first Comprehensive Cancer Centre in Ireland and is one of 15 Cancer Research UK (CRUK) designated Centres of Excellence in the UK. The Centre was also awarded Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC) status, one of 18 such UK Centres. For further information on our research programmes, please visit the CCRCB website: www.qub.ac.uk/ccrcb/.
Established in 2001, Domainex Ltd. is a privately owned, rapidly growing Cambridge, UK-based small-molecule, integrated drug discovery company that provides services to pharmaceutical, biotechnology and academic partners globally. Services cover a wide span of the drug discovery process, 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, biophysical and bioassay uses. Hit finding activities encompass assay development and screening utilising its BioassayBuilder 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.
Domainex will be moving to a new facility at Chesterford Research Park near Cambridge in summer 2016. The new facility will provide a near three-fold increased footprint and allow it to continue its growth strategy focused on providing best-in-class drug discovery services utilising its proprietary technology platforms and in-depth expertise of its skilled employees.
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 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 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. wellcome.ac.uk
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