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
At last, butterflies get a bigger, better evolutionary tree
16.02.2018 | Florida Museum of Natural History
New treatment strategies for chronic kidney disease from the animal kingdom
16.02.2018 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
Let’s say the armrest is broken in your vintage car. As things stand, you would need a lot of luck and persistence to find the right spare part. But in the world of Industrie 4.0 and production with batch sizes of one, you can simply scan the armrest and print it out. This is made possible by the first ever 3D scanner capable of working autonomously and in real time. The autonomous scanning system will be on display at the Hannover Messe Preview on February 6 and at the Hannover Messe proper from April 23 to 27, 2018 (Hall 6, Booth A30).
Part of the charm of vintage cars is that they stopped making them long ago, so it is special when you do see one out on the roads. If something breaks or...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
16.02.2018 | Information Technology
16.02.2018 | Health and Medicine
16.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy