ProNexus and Drug Discovery
Drug discovery is expensive and time-consuming. In part, the identification of new drug targets and new drugs has been limited by a poor understanding of cellular pathways. With the development of ProNexus, we are able to overcome this limitation and identify new drug targets in an entirely novel way.
Protein Pathways has initially selected three key disease areas that have unmet medical needs and large revenue potential. Our foremost target area is inflammation since we anticipate that novel anti-inflammatory drugs with fewer side effects than existing products have enormous market potential.
An initial step in the drug discovery process is analyzing the literature to reconstruct the current state of knowledge surrounding the key disease pathways. This step typically produces pathways containing a very limited number of genes, due to the limited understanding of cellular pathways.
The value-producing step in the process is to expand the current knowledge base using our ProNexus technology. ProNexus allows us to identify a large number of new genes that we believe are implicated in a disease pathway. Within this expanded list lie the drug targets of the next generation of anti-inflammatory drugs, as well as targets for other key diseases.
We have developed methods to extract from the extended ProNexus-defined pathways the key proteins that modulate disease and are the most suitable drug targets.
Drugability is determined by analyzing the sequence of the potential target to determine whether it has small molecule binding pockets, or whether the protein is amenable to antibody therapy. Once a target is identified, REDD automatically produces a preliminary list of molecules that bind to it and are potential drug leads.
To enhance the value we prioritize our list of targets using a multitude of additional criteria: low toxicity, based on interactions with toxicity markers, favorable distribution, determined by analyzing the tissue distribution of the protein, and potential efficacy, based on an analysis of interactions between the target and disease markers.
We are currently patenting targets that we hope will produce drugs that impact the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, cancers, and osteoporosis. We will next validate the efficacy and toxicity of these targets using a variety of conventional well-established experimental techniques.
The company anticipates that drugs to these targets will initially be developed in collaboration with pharmaceutical companies. Subsequently, we will internally develop new drugs to our proprietary targets as a fully integrated drug discovery company.