A Danish Consortium comprising companies and academic researchers has been established with DKK24 million (about $4.4 million) in Danish High Technology Fund financing to discover and develop small molecule drugs against epigenetic factors. Participating members include Nuevolution, EpiTherapeutics, ExpreS2ion Biotechnologies, and researchers in the laboratory of Kristian Helin, Ph.D., at the Biotech Research and Innovation Centre, University of Copenhagen.
Nuevolution says the research will involve the use of its Chemetics® technology for small molecule screening. The biology and disease-related skills and expertise will be provided by the other partners.
Nuevolution is exploiting its Chemetics technology to synthesize and identify diverse drug leads to pharmaceutically important therapeutic targets. The firm claims the technology combines the best features of high-throughput screening and fragment-based screening to enable the sampling of potentially millions to billions of fragments. This means that within just 2–3 days, more than 100 million molecules may be screened by one person against a given target using only micrograms of target material and nanograms of library material.
Each compound within a Chemetics library is linked to a strand of DNA encoding the synthetic history and chemical structure of the small molecule produced from a split-and-mix synthesis process, Nuevolution explains. The DNA-tag essentially provides a means for single-molecule detection by allowing amplification and sequencing for hit/lead identification from in vitro affinity screening of compound libraries of immense complexity.
Consortium partner EpiTherapeutics is focused on developing novel innovative cancer drugs based on epigenetics research by Professor Helin’s group at the University of Copenhagen. The company’s early-stage development programs are focused on enzymes involved in the regulation of transcription in cancer including histone demethylases and methyltransferases. EpiTherapeutics has raised DKK42 million in seed financing since its inception in October 2008, the latest tranche of which was invested in August this year.
ExpreS2ion Biotechnologies specializes in the production of recombinant proteins in Drosophila Schneider-2 (S2) cells. The company is a spin-off of Affitech (previously Pharmexa) and offers services for vector and cell-line development, cloning, upstream development and optimization, and production of GLP material.