The Drug Discovery and Development (DDD) Platform at SciLifeLab has entered into a research collaboration with the Swedish drug development company Medivir AB. The aim is to find inhibitors of the main protease of SARS CoV-2, an essential non-structural protein known as Mpro, which is required for virus replication. To identify putative inhibitors and evaluate active compounds as potential drug development candidates, the DDD platform will mine a unique protease-targeted compound library, developed at Medivir. Data for up to 100 top-inhibitors will be published by SciLifeLab online, openly available for drug development efforts focused on combating COVID-19.
Developing CAR T-cell treatment for glioblastoma
The latest project to pass through the SciLifeLab Drug Discovery and Development platform (DDD) aims to find an effective treatment for Glioblastoma, an aggressive type of incurable brain cancer. The researchers are using the patient’s own T-cells modified to target tumors.
“Our ambition is to start clinical studies within four years,” says Magnus Essand (SciLifeLab/Uppsala University).
Immunotherapy, a method in which the body’s own immune system is utilized against diseases such as cancer, is a research field quickly gaining popularity. CAR T-cells, which are T-cells equipped with chimeric antigen receptor antibodies (CARs) designed to recognize specific tumor cells, were approved as a treatment of lymphoma and acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2017. Now, Magnus Essand and Di Yu are hoping to use the same treatment for Glioblastoma.
A novel target in inflammatory disease
When Olle Hernell, now Professor Emeritus in Pediatrics at Umeå University, begun his research on bile salt-stimulated lipase (BSSL) in the 70’s, the enzyme was believed to be exclusively secreted from the lactating mammary gland to contribute to the digestion of milk lipids in the small intestine. Later, he and Susanne Lindquist, Associate Professor in Experimental Pediatrics at Umeå University, made the discovery that BSSL is in fact present in the blood stream, secreted from granulocytes, and that the levels are increased in patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
“We followed with experiments showing that both BSSL knock-out mice and mice treated with an antibody targeting BSSL are protected from developing arthritis”, says Olle Hernell.
This spurred them to join forces with the SciLifeLab Drug Discovery and Development (DDD) platform to pursue the opportunity for a novel biological drug for treatment of inflammatory diseases. Their mission: to produce a humanized anti-BSSL antibody for safe and effective use in patients.
What do we offer?
The SciLifeLab Drug Discovery and Development platform (DDD) offers integrated drug discovery efforts to the Swedish academic research community. We offer industry standard infrastructure, expertise, and strategic support for technology development or to help progress projects towards a preclinical proof-of-concept. We work with small molecules, human antibodies, and new modality therapeutics. There are three ways to interact with us:
|Drug development project||Access to resources/instruments/|
technologies at DDD
|Access to spare resources/|
instruments at DDD
Services are offered in the following areas:
Importantly, the researcher/customer retains all rights and ownership during this process.
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“We couldn’t have done this project without SciLifeLab. To begin with, we didn’t even know which things we didn’t know, so to speak. Nor did we have the funds to be able to do it ourselves. The vast competence of the DDD platform scientists has been invaluable to us.”
Olle Hernell (Umeå University)
“To have access to the expertise and techniques provided by the DDD was critical for us in order to be able to advance our research.”
Tina Sarén (Uppsala University)
We are currently running 19 drug discovery projects at the DDD platform: antibody, small molecule, and new modality projects. The DDD Platform strives to stay up to date with current drug discovery techniques used in the pharmaceutical industry.
Small molecule projects
Programming T-cells to fight cancer
SciLifeLab researcher Sara Mangsbo (UU) and her team has, together with the DDDP, developed a unique platform capable of programming specialized T-cells in the fight against cancer. This project is currently in the Lead Generation phase at the DDDP.
Photo: Mikael Wallerstedt
Recent project exits
|Year||Principal Investigator||Affiliation||Therapeutic area||Project Type|
|2020||Magnus Essand||Uppsala University||Oncology||New Modalities|
|2019||Susanne Lindqvist||Umeå University||Autoimmune Diseases||Antibody|
|2019||Sonia Lain||Karolinska Institute||Oncology||Small Molecule|
|2018||Margit Mahlapuu||Gothenburg University||Metabolic Disorders||Small Molecule|
|2018||Per Almqvist||Karolinska Institute||Neuroscience||New Modalities|
|2017||Maria Eriksdotter||Karolinska Institute||Neuroscience||New Modalities|
|2016||Mårten Fryknäs||Uppsala University||Oncology||Small Molecule|
|2016||Johan Flygare||Linköping University||Blood Disorders||Small Molecule|
|2016||Thomas Helleday||Karolinska Institute||Oncology||Small Molecule|
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