University of Leicester scientist wins Domainex’s STAR Award to support her search for a treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphomas

A Echalier

Cambridge, UK, 3rd February 2016 / Domainex Ltd is pleased to announce that the recipient of its latest Discovery STAR Award is Dr Aude Echalier, Lecturer in Structural Biology of Cancer Related Targets at the University of Leicester. This award will give Dr Echalier access to the outstanding drug discovery capabilities of Domainex in support of her research, which aims to target deubiquitinase enzymes (DUBs) leading to a new treatment for diffuse large B‐Cell lymphoma (DLBCL).

“Domainex received a number of strong applications for this year’s Discovery STAR Award scheme, but Dr Echalier’s project really stood out as she had in place a great drug target and all the elements needed to start a discovery project,” said Trevor Perrior, Director of Research at Domainex.  He went on to say: “We very much welcome the opportunity to help Dr Echalier identify inhibitors of this enzyme, and hope that by generating drug-like chemical starting points she will be able to access further funding that will support the development of a new treatment for this disease.”

Domainex will provide Dr Echalier with expert drug discovery guidance and access to its unique LeadBuilder virtual hit screening technology. Following the identification of hits using this approach, Dr Echalier, who has been working with the Leicester Drug Discovery and Diagnostics Centre, will co-ordinate further testing of these hits and then, with support from Domainex, she will seek additional funding to develop these towards potential new drug candidates for treatment of this form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Dr Echalier of the University of Leicester said ‘I am delighted to have been successful in securing the prestigious Discovery STAR award from Domainex. Their LeadBuilder platform is a proven approach to rapidly identifying virtual hit compounds with significantly enhanced hit rates in subsequent bioassays. I look forward to working with the team at Domainex to identify drug-like small molecule inhibitors of our chosen deubiquitinase in the near future and to progressing these into a programme of drug discovery.’

ENDS

Editors Notes

About Domainex

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 platforms. 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 Domainex’s Discovery STAR award

Domainex launched its Discovery STAR award in 2013 to support the early stages of drug discovery. At Domainex’s discretion, awardees will be provided with drug discovery advice and selected services free of charge in order to prepare applicants for funding applications to schemes such as the Wellcome Trust SDD, Innovate UK, Biocatalyst Fund or MRC DPFS.
Domainex plans to operate this scheme annually and will announce the next round shortly.

About Diffuse B‐Cell Lymphomas (DLBCL)

Lymphoma is the most common blood cancer. The two main forms of lymphoma are Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). Lymphoma occurs when cells of the immune system called lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell, grow and multiply uncontrollably. Cancerous lymphocytes can travel to many parts of the body, including the lymph nodes, spleen, bone marrow, blood, or other organs, and form a tumour. The body has two main types of lymphocytes that can develop into lymphomas: B-lymphocytes (B-cells) and T-lymphocytes (T-cells).

Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is the most common form of NHL, accounting for approximately 13% of the 35,000 new cases of haematological malignancy per year in the UK. CR‐UK figures for 2010 place this as the 6th most commonly diagnosed cancer in the UK. DLBCL is an aggressive (fast-growing) lymphoma. It can arise in lymph nodes or outside of the lymphatic system, in the gastrointestinal tract, testes, thyroid, skin, breast, bone, or brain.

The most widely used treatment for DLBCL is R-CHOP, which is a mixture of rituximab and several chemotherapy drugs (cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone).

Approximately one third of patients relapse or are refractory (RR‐DLBCL) to current treatments (R‐CHOP and associated regimes), the outlook for these patients is dismal. If left untreated, RR‐DLBCL has a life expectancy of 3 to 4 months.

Ref: Retrieved December 2015, from Lymphoma Research Foundation: 

http://www.lymphoma.org

About The University of Leicester

The University of Leicester is led by discovery and innovation – an international centre for excellence renowned for research, teaching and broadening access to higher education. The University of Leicester is ranked among the top one per cent of universities in the world by the THE World University Rankings and also among the top 100 leading international universities in the world. It is among the top 25 universities in the Times Higher Education REF Research Power rankings with 75% of research adjudged to be internationally excellent with wide-ranging impacts on society, health, culture, and the environment.

Find out more: https://le.ac.uk/about/info

About Leicester Drug Discovery and Diagnostics Centre

With leadership from Director Professor Andrew Tobin, the backing of a dedicated Steering Group and the provision of research support, the Centre ensures that milestones, deliverables and end points are met consistently. Our expanding drug discovery infrastructure includes dedicated research expertise and access to an extensive range of scientific facilities; with support from knowledge transfer professionals the Centre has established successful collaborative partnerships. Our collaborators include leading pharma companies, small biotechs and contract research organisations. We are in a fortunate position to be adaptive and rapid in progressing carefully identified projects emerging from basic science discoveries to clinically facing outcomes.

Find out more: http://www2.le.ac.uk/colleges/medbiopsych/research/ldddc

For more information regarding this project please contact:

Dr. Thomas Mander MBA
Chief Operating Officer
Domainex
tom.mander@domainex.co.uk
Tel: +44 (0)1223 743174
Mob: +44 (0)7584 578024
www.domainex.co.uk

Aude Echalier
Lecturer in Structural Biology
Departments of Molecular and Cell Biology and of Cancer Studies
University of Leicester
aude.echalier@le.ac.uk
Tel: +44(0) 116 229 7120
http://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/molcellbiol/staff/Aude%20Echalier-Glazer/research
 

For Domainex media relations please contact Sciad:

Richard Anderson
Sciad
Richard@sciad.com
Tel: +44 (0)7973 950376

Deborah Cockerill
Sciad
deborah@sciad.com
Tel: +44 (0)7930 317729