London Genetics awards first grants for drug discovery
26 February 2010
London Genetics Limited, a not-for-profit company set up by
several London academic institutions, has awarded
the first three grants from its proof-of-concept (POC) fund. The awards,
to teams at Imperial College London and University College London, are
for research in the areas of immunotherapy, schizophrenia and heart
disease. Financial details were not disclosed.
The purpose of projects funded by the POC fund is to illustrate
the value the genetic data and resources within LGL's seven academic
founding partners can add to drug discovery and clinical
development. Typical funded projects are expected to involve:
- Identification of disease genes and/or signalling pathways
for use in target selection or drug reprofiling; or
- Characterisation of disease genes or signalling pathways to
inform risk management strategies, define patient criteria for
inclusion in studies and stratified clinical study designs; or
- Identification of potential markers of medicine efficacy
and/or safety response.
Any intellectual property generated is expected to be retained by
the institution, with a return to London Genetics upon its
exploitation. The company's founding partners are all academic and
medical centres with significant clinical and genetic expertise.
The immunotherapy project will investigate genetic regulation of
production of natural killer cells, which are involved in protection
against diseases from cancer to malaria. The second team will be
involved in identifying and validating gene variants associated with
the weight gain that often occurs in patients taking atypical
antipsychotics for the treatment of schizophrenia. The
cardiovascular project will look at drug target validation by using
gene variants as a model of target modification.
Dominique Kleyn, CEO of London Genetics, said, "We are delighted
to be making these proof-of-concept awards which should provide
further validation of our business model, and highlight our links
with first-class academic teams. The biopharmaceutical industry is
realising the potential of pharmacogenetics in helping it meet the
myriad of challenges it faces."
About London Genetics Limited
London Genetics Limited (LGL) is a not-for-profit company, with
expertise in the use of pharmacogenetics in clinical drug discovery
and development. Established in 2007 with funding from the London
Development Agency, its seven founding partners are leading London
academic and medical institutions with clinical and genetic
expertise and significant patient resources.
The company provides pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies
with access to this expertise and resource, as well as providing
strategic advice on the application of pharmacogenetics for
successful drug development. LGL has broad therapeutic expertise
with a focus on cardiovascular disease and drug side-effects of a
Recent agreements developed by London Genetics include a
collaboration between the International Serious Adverse Events
Consortium, St George's University of London and the Drug Safety
Research Unit at Southampton, UK. The parties are working on genetic
markers for drug-induced cardiac arrhythmia. LGL is based at the
Imperial College Incubator in London.