At a time when the number of new drugs in the world's development pipeline has dwindled, the British company e-Therapeutics has formed a partnership with Brazilian company Grupo TCI to establish a joint research facility close to the Amazonian and Atlantic rain forests, to start testing substances from the millions of plants in the most diverse ecosystem on the planet.
New medicines are needed to combat a range of diseases which threaten to reach pandemic levels, including drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis and virus infections like avian flu. New drugs are also being sought for tropical diseases which occur in Brazil, such as hepatitis C, Chagas disease and Leishmaniasis.
In a separate deal, e-Therapeutics is joining forces with CURA, a pharmaceutical consortium backed by the Brazilian Government, which is establishing a cluster of drug discovery, development and marketing industries in North East Brazil. This will give e-Therapeutics a base from which to access to Brazilian pharmaceutical companies.
e-Therapeutics was spun out of Newcastle University in 2003 by Professor Malcolm Young, who developed new 'systems biology' techniques which can accurately predict the biological effect of any substance on any human tissue and on pathogens, such as bacteria and viruses. He attracted more than £10m research funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and other organisations to turn his ideas into practice.Professor Young demonstrated the effectiveness of its technology by correctly predicting the effects of known drugs, such as 103 known antibiotics. But it also uncovered unknown antibiotics, which are now entering drug development.
e-Therapeutics is not alone in hunting for rain forest medicines but has the advantage of a system which typically takes only two weeks to assess a substance, as opposed to two years by conventional processes.
Professor Young, who is now Pro-Vice-Chancellor at Newcastle University, said: 'This is a fantastic opportunity to investigate Brazil's colossal biodiversity with our cutting edge technology. There is enormous potential for drug discovery in the rain forests, where there are millions of plant species, many of which produce bioactive chemicals.'
Roberto Marinho Filho, President of Grupo TCI, said: 'This new partnership will enable us to access our rich resource of natural compounds and, through e-Therapeutics novel technology, determine the medical use of these natural compounds. This will open the current bottlenecks in developing new drugs. We will be using the world’s fastest compound profiling system, so the process of discovery of medicines, which can reduce the two years required currently for these processes to about two weeks.'
e-Therapeutics was able to link up to the Brazilian companies with the assistance of the North East Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC), an organisation formed by the 200 Pharmaceutical, Biotechnology, Speciality, Commodity and Petrochemical companies based in the North East of England. NEPIC says that it intends to provide industrial connections and support for e-Therapeuitics as it grows. Funding for e-Therapeutics has included a £90,000 investment from NStar, an independent early stage technology venturing company, via its Proof of Concept Fund (POC) in 2004. This helped to accelerate the development of e-Therapeutics by financing research and demonstrating the company's capabilities in the pharmaceuticals and biotechnology markets.
Professor Malcolm Young | alfa
Bare bones: Making bones transparent
27.04.2017 | California Institute of Technology
Link Discovered between Immune System, Brain Structure and Memory
26.04.2017 | Universität Basel
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
27.04.2017 | Life Sciences
27.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
27.04.2017 | Earth Sciences