Results of Competition: UKI2S Accelerator Programme for Technology Development Projects: Round 5. This provides 50% support for our £706k 18 month project for “an automated macrocycle discovery platform targeting intracellular protein-protein interactions”.
There are two major classes of drugs: "small molecules", and, "biologics". Both have their limitations: small molecules do not address complex disease targets; whilst biologics are not able to get inside the human cell, and also have to be injected. Members of a new drug class, called "macrocycles", combine desirable properties of both these classes, in that they can be administered orally, penetrate into the cell, and can tackle disease-causing processes therein. The pharmaceutical industry is seeking novel and patentable macrocycles for use in conditions such as cancer, inflammation, and auto-immune disease, amongst a range of other diseases. GyreOx's proprietary technology generates a range of novel GyrocycleTM highly modified macrocyclic peptides, but our production platform ('MACRO') is currently restricted to creating only 10's of different ones for testing as drugs.
This project will develop the process further to allow hundreds of novel gyrocycles to be generated more quickly and more cheaply, by automating the process from end to end. In particular, it will shorten the time necessary to explore new ideas for optimising gyrocycles for use as drugs. In tandem with the development of the platform, GyreOx will also tackle a specific target in cancer, where traditional approaches have made some headway, but have become stalled because they are unable to get the potential new drugs inside the tumour cell where the target resides. We will use our understanding of the properties of macrocycles to rationally design in the necessary ability to cross the cell membrane. We will create a novel lead series of compounds, demonstrating proof-of-principle.
By the end of the project, GyreOx will have developed a new drug discovery platform capable of being used against a range of targets in many different disease areas, and a first demonstration of its utility with an industry-relevant drug target. We will be able to deploy this new platform on both our own internal targets and those from Pharma partners, in a wide range of diseases of considerable unmet clinical need, including cancer, inflammation and auto-immune disease. The Company then aims to raise significant investment to take the new GyrocycleTM brand of drugs through to clinical testing in patients.