Natural products laboratory company Hypha Discovery signs deal with Domainex to support its research programme on novel oncology drugs

London, UK, 14 May 2009

Hypha Discovery Ltd today announced that it is working with Domainex Ltd to develop drugs based upon a number of innovative leads that are active against tumour cell lines.

The collaboration will bring together Hypha’s extensive expertise in natural products discovery and Domainex’s outstanding laboratory capability to optimise drug leads using its LeadBuilder platform technology and experienced medicinal chemistry team. Hypha has identified a pipeline of novel natural products that have significant activity against tumour cell lines – led by the fully synthetic anti-cancer chemical series HD148, which was inspired by compounds produced by the fermentation of a tropical mushroom.

Domainex has been supporting Hypha’s drug discovery programme and has successfully developed a series of low molecular weight anti-tumour agents based upon the structure of these natural products. The objectives of the project will be for Domainex to deliver to Hypha an advanced lead molecule, and subsequently a clinical candidate.

Dr Liam Evans, Chief Executive Officer of Hypha Discovery Ltd, said: “Having discovered a series of anti-cancer compounds with such clear scope for chemical optimisation, it was important to us to find the right medicinal chemistry partner to drive the project forward. In only three months of working on the synthetic programme, Domainex have already increased the potency of the series fifty-fold, while also improving solubility. We’re delighted to have linked up with such an expert group and look forward to continued success in the development of the HD148 programme, as well as our follow-on oncology projects.”

Dr Eddy Littler, Chief Executive Officer of Domainex, commented: “Domainex is very happy to have been selected as Hypha’s partner to work on such an exciting lead series, which demonstrates the value of the chemical novelty in Hypha’s MycoDiverseTM library. We look forward to providing the molecules that they need to take their project forward. The collaboration demonstrates our capability to support companies with leads identified from natural products, and is further validation of Domainex’s position as the drug discovery partner of choice for biotech and university groups. Companies like Hypha, which are investigating the therapeutic
potential of natural products as drugs, or as chemical leads, represent a highly innovative and important component of the biotechnology industry.”


Editors Notes

About Hypha Discovery Ltd.

  • Hypha is a privately held natural products laboratory company uniquely placed to discover novel drug-leads from a collection of 2,500 highly diverse mushroom fungi (the basidiomycetes), much of it from tropical rainforest.
  • The company is expert in discovering bioactive compounds from fermentations of the collection, with a high proportion of novelty (about 50%) which is unusual for modern natural products discovery
  • Hypha has internal research programmes targeted for antibiotic and anticancer compound discovery. Currently five separate anti-cancer projects are being progressed, led by the HD148 programme – a fully synthetic series of compounds that kill tumour cells.
  • Hypha is seeking collaborations with companies with a need for novel active compounds for pharmaceutical development, as well as those interested in novel enzymes for biofuel applications and other macromolecules.
  • Hypha also provides contract fermentation services to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, for compound purification and identification (e.g. manufacturing impurities, natural products from various sources), and biological assays (anticancer, antibacterial and antifungal)

For more information, contact:
Liam Evans, Hypha Discovery Ltd, Russell Building No.1, Brunel Science Park, Kingston Lane, Uxbridge, UB8 3PQ, UK Tel +44 (0)1895 814595 Mob +44 (0)7900 564558
About Domainex

  • Domainex uses unique and proprietary technologies to resolve common bottlenecks facing the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries in the post-genomic era. Major discovery ‘gaps’ exist between the vast amount of genomic information that is
    now available, the accessibility of the corresponding proteins for use in target validation and drug discovery, and the identification of robust hits in a cost effective manner. Founded in 2002, Domainex is a privately owned company with laboratories
    in Cambridge, England, and offices in the London Bioscience Innovation Centre.
  • Domainex has developed a number of platform technologies specifically aimed at enabling biotech or university groups who have exciting new drug targets. Its Combinatorial Domain Hunting (CDH) technology will deliver protein constructs that are soluble, stable, and produced in high-yield – thereby opening up the path to high throughput screening, structural biology, or antibody production. Domainex has also developed LeadBuilder – a virtual screening approach for targets which is specifically aimed at identifying hit molecules that are ideally suited for further development. The experienced medicinal chemistry team has a proven track record in supporting TM 3 biotech or university groups by providing expertise to take hit compounds through lead optimisation and on to candidate selection. Several compounds arising from these collaborations are currently in clinical evaluation.
  • Domainex works with clients on a fee-for-service basis. In 2008, the company secured investment to establish its own internal drug discovery pipeline based upon a number of targets in oncology. These targets are being progressed using Domainex’s platform technologies.

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