financial concept, business and moneyCypralis, a life sciences company focused on the discovery of therapeutics for the modulation of peptidyl-prolyl isomerases (PPIases), has successfully completed its Innovate UK feasibility award and has been awarded new funding by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, under its BioMedical Catalyst competition.

The feasibility study completed at the end of October 2016 was designed to generate new inhibitors of cyclophilin D that could be used to target degenerative diseases such as pancreatitis, ischaemias and CNS degeneration.

During the feasibility study, Cypralis and collaborators at the University of Liverpool demonstrated that Cypralis’ cyclophilin inhibitors are highly protective against pancreatic cell death resulting from bile acids, one of the two main causes of acute pancreatitis. The early stage study starts in January 2017 and builds upon the successful outputs from the previous feasibility study.

The early stage study will be undertaken in collaboration with Professor Robert Sutton at the University of Liverpool and with sub-contractors including Selcia Ltd, Hypha Discovery Ltd and Aptuit. The study objective is to expand the body of pharmacological evidence supporting the role of cyclophilin inhibition in acute pancreatitis, as well as undertaking other preclinical studies.

Simon Kerr, CEO of Cypralis, commented: ‘This further support from Innovate UK will enable Cypralis to select and progress one of our potent cyclophilin inhibitors through early preclinical development and towards Clinical Trial Application filing during 2018.”

“Existing data suggests that our compounds have significant potential for the treatment of acute pancreatitis, a serious disease for which there are no existing disease-modifying therapies. We are also delighted to be collaborating so closely with the University of Liverpool, which is one of Europe’s leading centres in pancreatology.”

Professor Robert Sutton, Director of the NIHR Pancreas Biomedical Research Unit, commented: ‘The development of an effective drug for acute pancreatitis would have a transformational impact on the management of this common and serious disease for which there are currently no specific therapies.”

“Our work at the University of Liverpool has demonstrated that drugs that block cyclophilin D can prevent or reduce damage to the pancreas occurring during an episode of acute pancreatitis. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with Cypralis to advance cyclophilin D inhibitors as a new therapy for acute pancreatitis.”