DMU and Ithaka Life Sciences partner to market new technology for
transporting CYP proteins
23 January 2012
De Montfort University (DMU) is establishing a new company
with Ithaka Life Sciences Ltd (Ithaka), to market new technology
designed for the transport of a range of compounds important in drug
Professor Bob Chaudhuri, Programme Leader of the MSc in
Pharmaceutical Biotechnology at DMU, has invented the technology
which will provide useful new products and services, based on a set
of proteins, named cytochrome P450s (CYPs).
CYPs are found in the human liver and are mostly responsible for
the metabolism of drugs in people. These proteins are commercially
available for use by companies involved in the discovery of new
drugs, but are inconvenient to use as they must be transported and
stored at temperatures as low as minus 80 degrees Celsius.
This new technology allows for CYPs to be shipped and handled at
room temperature, eliminating the need for a cold chain. This will
reduce the cost and make their use in testing new drugs much quicker
DMU and Ithaka have established a new company which will be
called CYP Design Ltd (CDL).
Professor Chaudhuri said, “The development of new drugs can be
very time-consuming and costly. It can take up to 14 years from the
initial idea and cost hundreds of millions of pounds. Thousands of
potential new drugs are tested initially for every one successfully
brought to market.
“Early drug discovery work has to identify new chemical compounds
which are potentially useful without being toxic to humans. Current
testing methodologies do not address the problem as these model
systems often react differently than humans to new chemicals. My
group’s development is designed to provide the proteins that are
needed for this work in a cost effective and convenient format.”
DMU has licensed this new technology to CDL which is now seeking
to bring the new products to market. Ithaka has worked closely with
Professor Chaudhuri to set up CDL and is leading the implementation
of the business strategy through Dr Bill Primrose as CEO and Dr Paul
Rodgers as Chairman.
Dr Bill Primrose said, “We’re delighted to be working with DMU
and believe that the technology that Professor Chaudhuri has been
developing can have a significant impact on the timescales and costs
involved in the early stages of drug discovery.
“CYPs are currently transported on dry ice, at around minus 80
degrees Celsius, and are stored as cold as possible in the
customer’s laboratory until they are needed.
“His new technology eliminates the need for a cold chain making
it easier to manufacture and ship the proteins, and making them much
more convenient for the customer to use.”