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19 December, 2016 - 21:37 By Kate Sweeney

Vascular disease startup launches in Cambridge

Melinda Duer, Professor of Biological and Biomedical Chemistry at the University of Cambridge

Cambridge Enterprise has exclusively licensed intellectual property relating to the use of PARP inhibitor drugs for treating vascular disease to Cycle Pharmaceuticals in Cambridge UK.

The University of Cambridge and King’s College London have jointly developed IP regarding the underlying cellular mechanisms that cause the calcification (or hardening) of arteries and veins as we age. These biological processes can cause vascular diseases and, through impeding blood flow, trigger heart disease and stroke.

The recently licensed IP includes a patent application and know-how relating to the use of PARP inhibitor drugs for the treatment of vascular disease. This IP has been licensed by Cambridge Enterprise, the commercialisation arm of the University of Cambridge, to Cycle Pharmaceuticals.

Melinda Duer, Professor of Biological and Biomedical Chemistry at the University of Cambridge, summarised the discovery: “Poly ADP ribose (PAR) synthesised by Poly ADP ribose polymerase (PARP) enzymes is involved in many cellular processes.

“One of these processes is the repair of single-strand DNA breakages (nicks). Preventing the repair of such DNA nicks can weaken cancerous cells. Many companies are developing drugs that inhibit the PARP/PAR process (PARP inhibitors) to act in this way against various cancers.

“Through our understanding of PARP/PAR processes that also occur in new bone formation, we have recently discovered that the calcification of the vascular system is also triggered by PARP/PAR processes that release PAR from dying cells in the vascular wall.”

• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Melinda Duer, Professor of Biological and Biomedical Chemistry at the University of Cambridge

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