Selcia granted patent for drug discovery platform

The patent covers technology underpinning the UK-based company’s CEfrag drug screening service

Selcia, a life sciences contract research organisation based in Ongar, UK, has been granted a UK patent for the technology platform underpinning the company’s CEfrag drug screening service.

Titled “Capillary electrophoresis method for assessing the binding of chemical compounds to biological targets”, the patent relates to the screening of compound libraries against specific targets, in particular screening for weak-binding ligands. Numbered GB 2481168, the patent was filed 20 September 2010 and granted 27 June 2012.

The patenting of Selcia’s CEfrag technology is the culmination of a three-year plan by Selcia to build a fully integrated drug discovery division alongside its existing 14C radiochemistry service.

Patenting of the technology follows the acquisition of IP and expertise from Cetek Corporation in 2009. The company already has a number of collaborations including a recent deal with Heptares, a UK-based biotech company that discovers and develops new medicines targeting G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) The goal of this collaboration was to identify fragment ligands that specifically bind to a Heptares GPCR drug target.

Selcia’s CEfrag platform uses capillary electrophoresis to identify fragment compounds that selectively bind to drug targets. A significant advantage of this approach is that all reagents are in solution and no tethering of the protein is required, enabling near physiological ligand/target interactions to be observed with a low false positive rate. The technology can be used to detect fragment/target interactions across a wide range of target classes including “challenging” targets such as protein-protein interactions. It can also be used to screen natural extracts for novel druggable natural compound starting points for drug discovery programmes, an area in which Selcia specialises.

Simon Bury, business development director – Discovery, Selcia, said: ‘The CEfrag drug screening platform has already shown itself to be a novel, scientifically robust approach to drug discovery. By patenting the technology we have demonstrated our strong intent to build a differentiated technology platform that will sit at the heart of Selcia’s integrated drug discovery service capabilities’.

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