Cardiovascular Drug Discovery

The search for novel cardiovascular therapeutics

Despite cardiovascular disease (CVD) being a focus of pharmaceutical R&D for many years, it remains the number one cause of death globally. Domainex has expertise in discovering CVD candidates.

An estimated 18 million people died from CVD in 2016, representing 31% of all global deaths. Of these 85% were due to heart attack and stroke (WHO data). The case for better and more widely available drugs is compelling, and Domainex has been actively supporting exciting new approaches to treatment for CVD for several years.

CVD Research at Domainex

Activated Factor XII

One of our major collaborations is with a University of Leeds spin-out biotech company, LUNAC Therapeutics, whose scientific programme is led by Prof Helen Philippou . This project aims to develop a new oral anticoagulant treatment with minimal bleeding risk, which is a major side effect of existing and emerging anticoagulant drugs. The drug target is the clotting enzyme activated Factor XII, for which there is strong evidence that inhibition will not increase the risk of bleeding. Domainex is providing integrated drug research services, including medicinal chemistry, biochemistry and ADME support.  The LUNAC team is benefiting from accessing the expertise Domainex has in both CVD and protease research.


Another recent Domainex client in the field of CVD is Prof Michael Schneider of Imperial College. Prof Schneider secured a Wellcome Trust award to develop a cardioprotective drug based on his research showing that the kinase MAP4K4 is a pivotal mediator of cardiac cell death under conditions of oxidative stress1. The concept was to invent a drug to be given to patients by infusion after an infarct to protect them from the heart damage known as ischaemia-reperfusion injury. Working closely with Prof Schneider, a team of Domainex biologists developed a screening cascade comprising biochemical and cellular assays to characterise the MAP4K4 inhibitors that were designed by its medicinal chemists. A particular challenge that was solved by the Domainex team was achieving the high aqueous solubility required for a drug to be given by infusion. Click here to view the full case study.

If you would like to access the Domainex expertise in cardiovascular diseases to support your own drug research programme we would be delighted to hear from you.


1. Pathway dissection in cardiac muscle cell death: MAP4K4 as a therapeutic target. LR Fiedler, K Chapman, E Maifoshie, R Sampson, C Low, C Traulau-Steward and MD Schneider; Cardiovascular Research, 2014, Volume 103, Issue suppl_1, Page S14.

Domainex press releases in the cardiovascular field

LUNAC Therapeutics selects Domainex as its strategic drug discovery partner
25th February 2020

Potential new treatment for heart attack: Prospective drug found by testing in human heart muscle grown from stem cells
7th March 2019

Domainex expands partnership with Imperial College London to reduce heart muscle damage during heart attacks
14th June 2017

Domainex and Imperial College London Partner to Discover New Therapies to Treat Myocardial Infarction
20th October 2015

"The LUNAC team is benefiting from accessing the expertise Domainex has in both CVD and protease research."