Domainex Ltd. expands its partnership with Imperial College London, to discover novel therapies that reduce heart muscle damage during heart attacks. The aim is to discover a drug that inhibits the enzyme MAP4K4, which plays a key role in triggering cell death following a heart attack. The significant progress made in the first two years of this collaboration has enabled Imperial College London’s Professor Michael Schneider to secure a follow-on award of £4.5M from the Wellcome’s Seeding Drug Discovery scheme, to continue this pioneering research.

Since initiating the project in 2015, Domainex and Imperial College London have worked closely together to advance promising therapeutic candidates. Novel, potent, and selective MAP4K4 inhibitors have been discovered. Using human cardiac muscle grown from human induced pluripotent stem cells, these inhibitors have shown efficacy in protecting these cells against oxidative stress, a known trigger for cell death during heart attacks.

‘We have already identified a number of very exciting, novel inhibitors through structure-based drug design,’ said Trevor Perrior, Chief Scientific Officer at Domainex. ‘We look forward to continuing our strong partnership with Professor Schneider and his team, and to building on the excellent progress made to date. The innovative cardiac muscle assay developed by the team here at Domainex working in partnership with Imperial College London, is enabling early testing on human cardiac muscle cells, which will make cardiac drug discovery more efficient and effective in identifying efficacious candidate drugs.’

The Domainex team will continue to provide integrated drug discovery services from its Medicines Research Centre near Cambridge, UK, including further biochemical, cellular and biophysical assay screening, structure-guided medicinal chemistry, coupled with drug metabolism, safety and pharmacokinetic assessment of promising candidates. The goal is to advance the project efficiently into pre-clinical development and ultimately to clinical evaluation.

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