New Screening Strategy for Epigenetic Targets European ScreeningPort Forms Strategic Alliance with Hypha Discovery to Access New Natural Products Screening Library

London and Hamburg, 19th October 2010


Hypha Discovery Ltd (Hypha) and European ScreeningPort GmbH (ESP) today announced a collaboration to evaluate Hypha’s MycoDiverseTM natural products library in ESP’s in-house epigenetic target assay panel. Currently, ESP provides access to Hypha’s MycoDiverseTM screening library to customers as part of its academic screening services business. The extension of the agreement to cover comprehensive profiling of the MycoDiverseTM library against ESP’s own panel of epigenetic targets greatly increases the scope and quality of drug discovery services offered by both companies. In addition, there is the potential to generate significant value by the identification of potent, selective compounds.

ESP recently established an epigenetic enzyme profiling panel covering sirtuins and histone deacetylase targets. These high throughput assays have already been shown to perform well in screens against known drugs and lead-like synthetic compounds.

This exciting new collaboration, which builds on the service offerings of both companies, will expose the MycoDiverseTM natural products library to multiple therapeutic targets implicated in a range of epigenetic-linked diseases including cancer, asthma, neurodegenerative and metabolic disorders. ESP know–how is positioned at the forefront of epigenetic assay design. The technology employs a luminescence-based readout, which while more resistant to the artefacts associated with fluorescence based assays, is also extremely sensitive at low enzyme concentrations, allowing rapid and cost effective assay development and screening.

The MycoDiverse™ library is a collection of 10,000 fermentation extracts of higher fungi (mushrooms and toadstools), many of which are from the rainforests of South America and South East Asia. Hypha’s proprietary technology unlocks the potential of this under-exploited group of microbes by designing the fermentations to produce bioactive chemistry with very high structural novelty. Already the collection, which has yet to be evaluated across the full therapeutic range, has delivered a range of low molecular weight structurally diverse bioactive hit molecules. This valuable new drug discovery resource is now available for screening through collaboration with ESP.

“The high quality MycoDiverse™ library gives us a valuable extension to our service offering, providing potentially innovative natural compounds derived from a unique collection of organisms as yet under exploited therapeutically. In addition, the modular and scalable service model of Hypha Discovery fully meets our requirements to provide flexible solutions that meet our customers’ specific needs. Natural products are often more suited to the profile of novel targets worked on in academic screening than conventional small molecules, as demonstrated by our first service contract which uses the MycoDiverse™ library in screening for inhibitors to block viral replication,” said Dr Philip Gribbon, Chief Scientific Officer at European ScreeningPort.

“We are delighted to be working with European ScreeningPort. This allows us to broaden the exposure of our unique natural products resource to innovative therapeutic target screens across Europe” said Dr Liam Evans, Hypha’s Chief Executive Officer.  “European ScreeningPort is a world leading provider of high throughput screening services. This strategic partnership provides new and exciting opportunities to find new drug leads resulting from our breakthrough fungal fermentation technology”.

Notes to Editors

Hypha Discovery Ltd is a natural products company, focusing on the production of biologically useful compounds from Higher Fungi, using proprietary stimulatory fermentation methods. The Company collaborates with drug discovery companies through the supply of the MycoDiverse™ library, a collection of 10,000 extracts and fractions with unusually high chemical novelty. Hypha has a pipeline of anti-infective and oncology pre-clinical projects from the MycoDiverse™ natural products library, led by the now fully synthetic mTOR-inhibiting HD148 series. Based in London, the Company also provides custom fermentation and compound purification contract services.

European ScreeningPort is a public-private-partnership offering fee-for-service small molecule screening to academic institutions. The goal is to provide a linkage in Europe between academic research and the pharmaceutical industry and thus support turning promising results generated in basic research into new therapeutics. European ScreeningPort is a service provider that enables academic research institutes to access its state-of-the-art screening platform, its extensive collection of compounds as well as its sample and data processing. The company performs bioassay development and validation, primary screening of small molecules, high content screening for secondary and selectivity assays, bioinformatics and virtual screening for academic partners.