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Kinexus Launches DrugKiNET KnowledgeBase with 105,000 Experimentally Tested Protein Kinase Drug Interactions

Kinexus Bioinformatics Corporation, a world-leader in the study of molecular intelligence systems, announced the launch of its DrugKiNET KnowledgeBase (www.drugkinet.ca) for the identification and development of drug candidates that potently and selectively inhibit human protein kinases. This open-access website features quantitative data on the effects of over 800 chemical compounds on more than 400 protein kinases following careful annotation of hundreds of experiments documented in the scientific literature. This data was then used to train two different proprietary algorithms to predict the inhibitory effects of 550 of these compounds on 500 human protein kinases. This information can guide biomedical researchers in the discovery of new therapeutic targets for existing drugs, and aid in the design of promising new drugs.

At least 538 different protein kinases regulate each other and another approximately 21,500 diverse protein targets to coordinate all of the operations in living cells through complex molecular communications and control networks. Kinases are well recognized by the pharmaceutical and biotech industry as highly productive targets for drug development with applications for cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and many other diseases. In fact, over 400 human disease have been linked to genetic mutations in the genes that encode protein kinases or the direct actions of environmental toxins that target protein kinases. Over the last decade, more than two dozen kinase inhibitors have already been approved for clinical use, primarily for cancer treatment. By targeting inappropriately active kinases, these small molecule drugs essentially re-program cancer cells for their demise.

Over the last year, Kinexus and their collaborators in the Mathematics of Information Technology and Complex Systems (MITACS) groups at the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University have worked to identify the specific parts of different protein kinases that are critical for recognition by each of 550 different compounds that have been experimentally shown to inhibit one or more kinases. These parts, termed Inhibitor Determining Residues (IDR’s), may be involved in recognizing and binding drugs, and their identification within DrugKiNET can facilitate further optimization of even more potent and specific protein kinase inhibitory drugs. Previously, Kinexus and its partners identified Substrate Determining Residues (SDR’s) in protein kinases that were important for recognition of their protein targets and deposited this information in their open-access PhosphoNET Knowledgebase (www.phosphonet.ca).

“We believe that DrugKiNET is an extremely unique and powerful resource for the biomedical research community,” commented Dr. Steven Pelech, President and Chief Scientific Officer of Kinexus and a professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of British Columbia. “Over a third of all pharmaceutical drug development is presently focused on protein kinase inhibitory drugs, but we expect this to increase even more, since the vast majority of protein kinases have yet to be pursued as drug targets, and definition of the precise roles of different kinases in non-cancer-related diseases is still in its infancy.”

Dr. Pelech added, “We are excited by the prospect that our algorithms can define new protein kinase targets for existing drugs, and that they can identify in the genes that encode protein kinases the specific mutations that may alter their sensitivities to these drugs. As Kinexus has the capability of testing the effects of drug candidates on over 350 different purified protein kinases in-house, we also have the ability to experimentally validate many of our drug predictions for our clients.”

Kinexus is a private, biotechnology company engaged in the research and development of innovative methods to map, track and manipulate cellular communication networks. The application of this knowledge positions Kinexus and its clients in drug development, rational drug design, disease diagnosis and personalized therapies to improve human health. Kinexus currently has agreements with over 1700 research laboratories in companies, universities, government institutions and hospitals in over 35 different countries. To learn more about the diverse proteomics and bioinformatics services offered by Kinexus, please visit www.kinexus.ca or call toll-free at 1-866-KINEXUS.

Source: Kinexus Bioinformatics Corporation

Cenix BioScience and Debiopharm Group Collaborate to Identify Predictive Biomarkers

Cenix BioScience, a leading preclinical contract research provider and technology developer specialized in RNAi-, miRNA- and high content-driven pharmacology, and Debiopharm Group™ (Debiopharm), a Swiss-based global biopharmaceutical group of companies with a focus on the development of prescription drugs that target unmet medical needs, including oncology and companion diagnostics, recently announced that they have signed a research agreement to support Debiopharm in its ongoing efforts to develop novel therapeutic drug candidates.

Under the research framework’s first project, Cenix will apply its leading expertise in combining high throughput screening with high content assays in cultured human cells, to identify predictive biomarkers for Debiopharm preclinical oncology candidates. Multi-parametric microscopy-based readouts established by Cenix using the Definiens XD image analysis platform will be used in a range of human cancer cell models to identify genes and pathways that either enhance or suppress the drug’s therapeutic effects. As such, the study represents another important illustration of Debiopharm’s ongoing drive to integrate cutting edge technologies and powerful post-genomic strategies towards further refining its personalized medicine approach towards the development of new therapeutics.

“We very excited to launch this new relationship with Debiopharm, extending their repertoire with what we consider to be some of the most strategically powerful cell-based screening paradigms developed to date,” said Dr. Christophe Echeverri, CEO/CSO of Cenix BioScience. “We deeply appreciate and are particularly gratified by this implied trust from yet another world-class and forward-leaning drug development organization, who also happens to be a long-standing expert in R&D outsourcing”.

“We look forward to working with Cenix, whose specialist expertise, longstanding leadership and unrivaled track record in this field made them an ideal partner,” commented Dr. Hiroaki Tanaka, Director of Personalized Medicine, Debiopharm. “The opportunity to benefit from such depth of knowledge, experience and extensively validated capabilities is considered as the most strategically important resource for preclinical biomarkers discovery”.

Source: Cenix BioScience

Pfizer-KineMed Collaboration Extends to Target Novel Diabetes Pathways

KineMed Inc. (www.kinemed.com) today announced the renewal of a non-exclusive research collaboration with Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) for the advancement of novel approaches towards metabolic disease, in particular Type II Diabetes. The collaboration will employ KineMed’s unique dynamic proteomics technology platform to map the impact of potential drug candidates on specific metabolic pathways.

Diabetes is an emerging global healthcare epidemic with an estimated 347 million people affected, according to the WHO. Diabetes is predicted to become the seventh leading cause of death in the world by the year 2030 and total deaths from diabetes are projected to rise by more than 50% in the next 10 years.

In the United States Type II diabetes affects over one quarter of Americans over the age of 65. Diabetes is a major cause of heart disease and stroke, and is now also the leading cause of kidney failure, non-traumatic lower-limb amputations and new cases of blindness among adults.

Despite 50 years of drug research, over 60% of patients remain unresponsive to current therapies, requiring novel approaches to address fundamental metabolic processes in diabetes.

“We are very pleased to announce the renewal of this ongoing partnership in an important area of medicine that affects so many Americans. Powerful discovery and investigative abilities of novel disease pathways are key strengths of our translational platform,” said Dr. Scott Turner, Executive Vice-President, R&D at KineMed. “We look forward to continuing to work with Pfizer to accelerate and rapidly de-risk the advancement of novel compounds in pre-clinical and clinical trials.”

Source: Business Wire

Venaxis Appoints SomaLogic CMO and former Pfizer Executive Stephen A. Williams, M.D., Ph.D., to Board of Directors

Venaxis, Inc. (Nasdaq: APPY), an in vitro diagnostic company focused on obtaining FDA clearance and commercializing its CE Marked APPY1 Test, a rapid, protein biomarker-based assay for appendicitis, recently announced the appointment of Stephen A. Williams , M.D., Ph.D., Chief Medical Officer at SomaLogic, to the Company’s Board of Directors. Dr. Williams brings his experience in diagnostic imaging and biomarker discovery to the Venaxis Board.

Steve Lundy , President and CEO of Venaxis, stated, “We are happy to welcome Steve to our Board and look forward to the benefit of his deep experience, both in diagnostic imaging, which is relevant to our market development and commercial strategy for the APPY1 Test, as well as in clinical biomarker validation, which will be instrumental to us in our evaluation and development of future Venaxis products.”

Dr. Williams stated, “The APPY1 Test is an excellent example of how characterization of clinically relevant biomarkers can produce useful tools for addressing important diagnostic challenges. With the potential to reduce the safety risks associated with current diagnostic imaging techniques in the emergency setting, I believe there is significant clinical need and utility for the APPY1 Test. I am excited to join the Venaxis Board and to support the further development and commercialization of this, as well as potential future, biomarker-based diagnostic products.”

Dr. Williams joined SomaLogic in 2009 as Chief Medical Officer. Prior to his time at SomaLogic, Dr. Williams trained as a physician at Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School, University of London, and following his internships, returned to the same institution for a Ph.D. in medicine and physiology. He subsequently performed three years of residency in diagnostic imaging at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. In 1989 he joined Pfizer U.K. in experimental medicine and worked on a variety of programs including asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, migraine [eletriptan], depression [sertraline] and urinary incontinence [darifenacin]. He moved to the U.S. in 1993 with Pfizer and worked on programs in inflammatory bowel disease, stroke, psychosis [ziprasidone] and head injury. He created the clinical technology group in 1997, which became a worldwide function on five research sites with the objective of validating clinical biomarkers and measurements, and was named vice president in 2006. Dr. Williams served on the National Advisory Council for the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering from 2004-2007 and the executive Committee of the Biomarkers Consortium run by the Foundation for NIH from 2005-2007. In process initiatives, he led or co-led initiatives in diagnostics, biomarkers, quality of drug candidates, and guidelines for development teams to make the decision to start Phase 3 trials.

Source: PR Newswire

Crown Bioscience, Inc. and Horizon Discovery Announce Exclusive Two Year Agreement to Offer Combined Solutions for In Vivo Drug Discovery Model Development

Crown Bioscience, Inc. (Crown), a leading global drug discovery and development service company, and Horizon Discovery (Horizon), a leading provider of research tools to support the development of personalized medicines, recently announced they have signed an exclusive two year collaboration agreement. Under the terms of the agreement Crown will be given access to Horizon’s proprietary collection of X-MAN isogenic cell lines to develop novel in vivo models for drug discovery. 

The relationship is a continuation of a previous collaboration between the two companies. Horizon will share its X-MAN (X-Gene Mutant and Normal) cell lines with Crown to provide in vivo animal services to third parties. Crown will use Horizon’s cell lines to provide animal model development, study execution and business marketing to its clients. These high-quality disease models are crucial for generating ‘first-in-class’ patient-relevant targets while facilitating the development of novel oncology targets and early-stage drug discovery programs within the pharmaceutical industry.

By combining their drug discovery and translational research platforms, Crown Bioscience and Horizon Discovery will help their customers select and advance the highest quality drug candidates to clinical development. Both companies are ideally placed to help bring lead molecules based upon highly validated and novel drug models to clinic. In vitro and in vivo cell lines are available to clients
who want to help validate new models and become early adopters, with complete access to new models available at the earliest possible phase.

“We are excited to continue working with Horizon through this new collaboration, and believe that the project will bring us closer to achieving a global leadership position in supporting oncology drug discovery programs. This exclusive agreement confirms Crown Bioscience’s position at the forefront of innovation within the global biotech and pharmaceutical industry,” said Jean-Pierre Wery, President of Crown Bioscience. “This is an important step on our path towards finding new answers to meet the
urgent needs of our customers in their fight against cancer.”

“The suite of in vivo models developed with Crown will ideally complement our extensive range of in vitro drug discovery tools and services. We are confident this partnership will yield some exciting results,” commented Darrin Disley, CEO of Horizon Discovery. “This collaboration is further testament to the power and utility of Horizon’s gene editing technology in the creation of high value drug
discovery tools.”

Source: Crown Bioscience