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11 January, 2018 - 13:39 By Kate Sweeney

Cypralis and Gilead expand drug discovery collaboration

Cambridge life science companies Cypralis and Gilead Sciences, Inc. have stepped up a drug development collaboration targeting acute and chronic degenerative diseases that is already bearing fruit.

Gilead, which is expanding its Cambridge operations, has agreed that Cypralis will have exclusive development and commercialisation rights to certain macrocyclic inhibitors of peptide bond isomerases in all fields except for oncology and virology.

This is a further step in the collaboration between the parties which follows a multi-year drug discovery collaboration between Selcia Ltd – based in Ongar, Essex – and Gilead (which is steered from the mothership in California.

Within that partnership, Selcia’s chemists and biologists provided integrated drug discovery services to support Gilead’s liver disease research programmes. The research phase ended in 2013 and Selcia’s rights under the agreement have been subsequently transferred to Cypralis, a Selcia spin-out.

During the research collaboration, Selcia and Gilead generated four jointly owned patents and two pre-clinical candidates.

Simon Kerr (CEO, Cypralis) said: “Cyprolides are a new class of fully synthetic cyclophilin inhibitors that are potent inhibitors of cyclophilin D and protect against opening of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore. This property leads to protection of cells and tissues associated with several diseases such as neurodegeneration, fibrosis and other mitochondrially-mediated diseases.

“By focusing upon acute and chronic degenerative diseases, we aim to exploit the properties of this new class of compound in areas outside of oncology and virology.”

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