by Buck Institute
October 25, 2012 . Press Release
Buck Institute Announces its Founding Partnership with Delos Pharmaceuticals
The Buck Institute for Research on Aging has completed its first partnership establishing a new company aimed at developing human therapeutics for age-related diseases. Delos Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is focused on the discovery and development of novel polyketide-based therapies to treat chronic disease by targeting specific pathways implicated in several aging-related diseases. The company is founded on assets acquired or licensed from the Buck Institute and Biotica Technology Ltd. (Cambridge, UK).
“Delos Pharmaceuticals focuses on novel biological mechanisms that can be used to treat aging-related disease by addressing the basis for disease initiation and progression, such as oxidative, cellular and environmental stress,” said Stelios Tzannis, MS/PhD, the CEO of Delos Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Tzannis said Delos Pharmaceuticals has already screened and identified novel drug candidates that show promise, by virtue of the powerful integration of the biological breakthroughs and cutting-edge chemistry contributed by the founding entities. “The Delos platform is poised to address the promise of key biological pathways while reducing the accompanying side effects, something that hasn’t been possible until now,” said Tzannis. “The ability of the Delos platform to identify drug candidates selectively for age-related disease pathways, and therefore to attenuate disease progression, is potentially revolutionary,” he said.
Headquartered at the Buck Institute, Delos is supported by on-going research in many of the Institute’s 19 laboratories, which are actively involved in the R&D of Delos’ compounds. “We are thrilled to be working with world-class scientists on our team. The Buck is a world leader in aging research and brings tremendous expertise in the mechanisms of the mTOR pathway and novel discovery screens. Biotica brings to Delos its unique discovery and chemistry platform along with its expertise in drug candidate optimization,” said Tzannis.
The Buck Institute and Biotica have been collaboratively investigating novel polyketides that impact mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) and other aging-related pathways that have an established role in the development of age-related diseases. Tzannis said the collaboration has already yielded the first hits demonstrating selective ability to modulate the mTOR pathway. Included in the license granted by Biotica are proprietary polyketide drug candidates that show promise in the treatment of chronic disease, including SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus). According to Tzannis, these Delos compounds are ready to enter IND-stage drug development.
“Delos has the potential to propel key aging pathways directly into human drug development and disease treatment. The interface between aging and disease has always been recognized. This therapeutic strategy is built on leveraging knowledge about aging to address disease indications,” said Buck Institute CEO Brian Kennedy, PhD, a Delos co-founder and chair of its scientific advisory board. Kennedy said inhibiting mTOR impacts longevity as well as a number of age-related conditions including neurodegenerative diseases, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic diseases such as diabetic retinopathy. “Delos Pharmaceuticals brings the mechanisms of aging to the drug discovery process – a unique approach which has the potential to impact many of the chronic diseases for which aging is the largest risk factor,” he said.
“We are excited that Delos will explore our rapamycin analogs with their cutting-edge biology, including development of the drug candidates we have identified,” said Barrie Wilkinson, PhD, Biotica’s VP of Research and a co-founder of Delos, who has joined the new company’s scientific advisory board. “Our collaboration with the Buck has allowed us to make great strides in exploring several polyketides as therapeutics in age-related disease. The advancements we have made in mechanistic biology and polyketide engineering have positioned Delos to develop our new products on key biological pathways. Delos’ platform is unique, with the potential to treat multiple age-related diseases,” he said.
About Biotica Technology Limited
Biotica is a privately-held biotechnology company that discovers and develops polyketide therapeutics. It has a growing pipeline of novel therapeutic programs supported by clinical validation. These include rapamycin analogs with improved therapeutic profile and cyclophilin inhibitors for treatment of HCV and other viral infections. All of Biotica’s projects employ its proprietary novoPT™ technology, which enables it to select from the many known polyketides with biological activity and make a range of derivatives that are either difficult or impossible to make by medicinal chemistry methods. For additional information visit www.biotica.com.
Science is showing that while chronological aging is inevitable, biological aging is malleable. There's a part of it that you can fight, and we are getting closer and closer to winning that fight.
Eric Verdin, MD, Buck Institute President and CEO