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14 June, 2017 - 11:44 By Kate Sweeney

Domainex and Imperial step up cardiac research

Trevor Perrior Domainex

Drug discovery sleuths at Domainex in Cambridge have expanded a partnership with Imperial College London to find novel therapies that reduce heart muscle damage during heart attacks.

The aim is to discover a drug that inhibits the enzyme MAP4K4, which plays a key role in triggering cell death following cardiac arrest.

Significant progress made in the first two years of the collaboration has enabled Imperial’s Professor Michael Schneider to secure a follow-on award of £4.5 million from Wellcome’s Seeding Drug Discovery scheme, to continue the pioneering research.

Since initiating the project in 2015, Domainex and Imperial College London have worked closely together to advance promising therapeutic candidates. Novel, potent, and selective MAP4K4 inhibitors have already been discovered. Using human cardiac muscle grown from human induced pluripotent stem cells, these inhibitors have shown efficacy in protecting these cells against oxidative stress, a known trigger for cell death during heart attacks.

Trevor Perrior (pictured), chief scientific officer at Domainex, said: “We have already identified a number of very exciting, novel inhibitors through structure-based drug design.

“We look forward to continuing our strong partnership with Professor Schneider and his team and to building on the excellent progress made to date. The innovative cardiac muscle assay developed by the team here at Domainex working in partnership with Imperial College London is enabling early testing on human cardiac muscle cells, which will make cardiac drug discovery more efficient and effective in identifying efficacious candidate drugs.”

The Domainex team will continue to provide integrated drug discovery services from its Medicines Research Centre at Chesterford Research Park near Cambridge UK – including further biochemical, cellular and biophysical assay screening, structure-guided medicinal chemistry, coupled with drug metabolism, safety and pharmacokinetic assessment of promising candidates.
The goal is to advance the project efficiently into pre-clinical development and ultimately to clinical evaluation.

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