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9/9/2013 9:35:58 AM
Nottingham and Cambridge, United Kingdom – 9th September 2013 – Sygnature Discovery, a leading provider of integrated drug discovery services, today announced that it has been selected by CellCentric, a biotechnology company with a scientific foundation in epigenetics, to progress small molecule inhibitor drug discovery against a specific deubiquitinase (DUB) enzyme which has been demonstrated to play a key role in the progression of prostate cancer.
CellCentric recently received £4.3 million through further venture investment and an award from the UK government-backed Technology Strategy Board’s BioMedical Catalyst Fund, to further fuel the DUB programme through to small molecule clinical candidates. The new agents act upon the androgen receptor (AR) pathway, which is gaining significant interest from the pharmaceutical industry. CellCentric’s approach has the potential to modulate AR and AR splice variants, which could be key to overcoming many of the drug resistance mechanisms which limit the clinical benefit of existing approved and developmental therapeutic agents.
Dr Will West, Chief Executive Officer, CellCentric said: “We are delighted with the continued support from our shareholders and from the BioMedical Catalyst award. The further funding should see us progress our main programme through to significant clinical and commercial value. The application of epigenetics to novel drug discovery is now maturing beyond just the promise of a new scientific area. We look forward to expanding our excellent relationship with Sygnature Discovery who have a growing reputation for high quality integrated drug discovery services, and who will help us to achieve our corporate goals.”
Dr Simon Hirst, Chief Executive Officer, Sygnature Discovery said: “We are pleased that CellCentric has selected Sygnature Discovery to be its drug discovery partner. Epigenetics is a rapidly evolving field and this is an exciting opportunity for us to work on an unexplored and challenging drug target which has been shown to be critical in prostate cancer. Sygnature has considerable in-house oncology drug discovery knowledge and having medicinal chemistry, computational chemistry and in vitro screening under one roof will enable us to accelerate CellCentric’s prostate cancer programme towards the clinic.”
About Sygnature Discovery
Sygnature Discovery, founded in 2004 in Nottingham, UK, is a leading provider of integrated drug discovery services to pharmaceutical companies, biotechs and academics located in Europe and the USA. Through its unique ‘federated’ CRO model, Sygnature undertakes complete drug discovery programmes and hit finding, hit-to-lead and lead optimisation projects for its clients. The company employs over 70 laboratory-based, industry-experienced PhD medicinal chemists, computational chemists and in vitro biologists. Sygnature has strategic alliances with Cyprotex Discovery (ADME/toxicology), Saretius (pre-clinical pain/CNS and metabolic disease models), Pneumolabs (pre-clinical respiratory models), Horizon Discovery (X-ManTM isogenic cell lines), ChanTest (ion channel experts) and Proteros (X-ray protein structure analysis) to facilitate the delivery of top quality drug discovery services to its clients. For more information, visit: www.sygnaturediscovery.com and www.integrateddrugdiscovery.com.
CellCentric is a biotechnology company, founded with Prof Azim Surani FRS of University of Cambridge, and one of the earliest pioneers in epigenetics. Epigenetic mechanisms play a key role in regulating cell fate. When these processes go awry, disease states can be induced, including most notably cancer. CellCentric has identified and investigated nearly 50 enzymes associated with epigenetic regulation, and has carried out early drug discovery on six. One of these, an arginine methyltransferase programme was licenced to Takeda Pharmaceuticals. The current priority is a deubiquitinase target that plays a central role in the progression on prostate cancer, and notably the most aggressive castrate resistant form. The company operates a capital efficient outsourced model, collaborating with multiple leading academic centres in Europe and the US, and through contract research organisations. For more information visit: www.cellcentric.com
About the Technology Strategy Board
The Technology Strategy Board is the UK’s innovation agency. Its goal is to accelerate economic growth by stimulating and supporting business-led innovation. Sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Technology Strategy Board brings together business, research and the public sector, supporting and accelerating the development of innovative products and services to meet market needs, tackle major societal challenges and help build the future economy.
About the Biomedical Catalyst
This joint £180 million Technology Strategy Board and Medical Research Council programme offers funding to innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and academics looking to work either individually or in collaboration to develop solutions to healthcare challenges. The Biomedical Catalyst accepts innovative ideas from any sector or discipline that demonstrate the potential to provide significant positive healthcare and economic impact. Any UK SME or academic undertaking research and development, either individually or in collaboration, may apply; applications are accepted on a rolling basis for assessment by independent experts.
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