Drugging the undruggable
CAMBRIDGE, U.K.—In December, Cresset Discovery Services, a provider of contract research services for early-phase discovery, announced that it had been contracted by PhoreMost Ltd., a UK-based biopharmaceutical company dedicated to tackling “undruggable” disease targets, to work on a novel oncology protein target.
PhoreMost reports that it has leveraged its proprietary SITESEEKER drug discovery platform and PROTEINi libraries to identify a peptide sequence inhibiting a novel protein target that was previously thought to be undruggable, which it says is “relevant to an oncogenic cellular pathway.” Cresset Discovery Services has been contracted under a flexible service agreement to determine how the peptide binds to the target, and to ultimately help find small molecules that have the same effect.
“We have already completed a computational analysis of the peptide sequence to predict binding mode and geometry, using a pre-release version of our Flare V3 software, a structure-based design solution, to provide electrostatic and surface hotspot mapping,” said Dr Martin Slater, director of consulting services at Cresset Discovery Services.
Added Dr. Richard Boyce, senior director of research at PhoreMost: “Our SITESEEKER platform offers a powerful solution for identifying novel targets and mechanisms that are therapeutically interesting. Cresset Discovery Services’ computational experience and high standard of scientific support is ideally suited to help drive the next stage of this project.”
Chemists in research organizations worldwide use Cresset software and discovery services to discover, design and optimize small molecules. PhoreMost, for its part, has developed a next-generation phenotypic screening platform called SITESEEKER that it says can discern the best new targets for future therapy and how to drug them. Based on the company's core proprietary Protein Interference technology, SITESEEKER “systematically unmasks cryptic druggable sites across the entire human genome and directly links them to useful therapeutic functions in a live-cell context,” says PhoreMost.
In other news of the two companies recently, late last year Cresset announced—along with Liverpool ChiroChem, a chemical technology innovator that produces chiral small molecules for biotech and pharmaceutical R&D—a collaboration to design novel compound libraries with the maximum pharmacological diversity within the smallest library size. Meanwhile, PhoreMost announced in late 2019 that it had been named Biotech Company of the Year at the 2019 Cambridge Independent Science and Technology Awards, in recognition of its progress and successes.