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New uses for old drugs

A method for discovering entirely new career paths for existing clinical drugs is being exploited by start-up company Tangent Reprofiling Ltd., following a deal just signed between the company, PepTcell Limited, the University of Warwick and Warwick spin-out company a2sp Ltd.

The technique, developed at the University of Warwick, enables researchers to investigate potential new uses for drugs which are already approved for clinical use.

Tangent Reprofiling, set up as a subsidiary of the immunology company PepTcell, and based in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, has now acquired the intellectual property which will allow it to make use of the technique.

The idea of ‘reprofiling’ drugs is not unique to Tangent – perhaps the most famous example is the drug Viagra, which was originally developed to combat high blood pressure and angina. However this particular technique allows researchers to assess a wide landscape of current drugs in a cost and time efficient manner, using a combination of established chemical genomics techniques and proprietary chemistry.

Dr Suzanne Dilly, Tangent’s new CEO, explained, “Most drugs work by interacting with proteins in the body. By using the technology platform developed by a2sp Ltd, we can look for unexpected interactions between a drug and different proteins and then suggest potential new uses for that drug.

“One advantage of reprofiling drugs is that they have already gone through the rigorous tests required before a drug can be cleared for clinical use, a process which can take several years.”

Warwick Ventures, the university’s technology transfer office, supported the deal, which sees all a2sp’s employees moving across to Tangent Reprofiling and a2sp COO Suzanne Dilly becoming Tangent’s new CEO.

Dr Dilly added: “We are excited to be joining the PepTcell group and eagerly anticipate working with their innovative scientific team.”

PepTcell holds the majority interest in Tangent Reprofiling with the other shareholders comprising the University of Warwick and previous staff members, consultants and directors of a2sp.

John Mihell, of Warwick Ventures, said: “We are glad to see another spin out company successfully commercialised. We are excited by the prospects of this new relationship with the PepTcell group and hope that Tangent Reprofiling will fulfil their objectives.”

Gregory Stoloff, of PepTcell, added: “PepTcell is excited by this acquisition which completes its drug reprofiling ambitions by complementing the activities of its recently established subsidiary Biocopea Ltd. PepTcell now has the full spectrum of risk from reprofiling through to new drug development with a particular focus in the area of immunology.”

Dr Suzanne Dilly is joined on the board of Tangent Reprofiling by Dr Paul Taylor, Associate Professor of Chemistry at Warwick, who will also be providing services as a consultant. The Board is completed by Chairman, Gregory Stoloff, and PepTcell members, James Synge and Wilson Caparros Wanderley.

For further information, please contact:
Dr Suzanne Dilly, CEO, Tangent Reprofiling Ltd. Tel: (0)1789 840599 Suzanne.dilly@tangentreprofiling.com
Beck Lockwood, Campuspr Midlands Ltd. Tel: 0121 451 1321; mobile: 0778 3802318; email: beck@campusprmidlands.co.uk

Notes for editors:
For further details of the PepTcell group please see http://www.peptcell.com/collaborations.aspx