WALTHAM, MA November 28, 2010 Avila Therapeutics, Inc., a biotechnology company developing novel targeted covalent drugs, has published research in Nature Chemical Biology demonstrating the first-ever selective irreversible inhibition of a viral protease using a targeted covalent drug. In the paper titled "Selective Irreversible Inhibition of a Protease by Targeting a Non-Catalytic Cysteine", Avila used its proprietary Avilomics platform to design covalent irreversible protease inhibitors that are highly selective, potent and with superior duration of action as compared to conventional protease inhibitors.
Importantly, the published research demonstrates that covalent drugs can be designed and targeted to irreversibly and covalently bond to molecular domains specific to proteases. This is the first report of the irreversible covalent approach being successfully extended to proteases, a very broad class of proteins that includes many important potential drug targets.
"This research elevates covalent drug design to a fundamentally new level," said Simon Campbell, PhD, CBE, FMedSci, FRS, a renowned scientist and former Senior Vice President for Worldwide Drug Discovery and Medicinal R&D Europe of Pfizer. "By creating extremely selective protease inhibitors with their platform, Avila is showing the remarkable therapeutic potential of irreversible covalent drugs to address a broad spectrum of drug targets."
"This publication showcases the creation of a whole new class of small molecule drugs," said Juswinder Singh, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer of Avila and a co-author of the paper. "This approach can make a difference to patients living with HCV infection, and we expect to make an impact in other important areas such as cancer and inflammatory disease."
In order to maximize selectivity and minimize off-target effects, the irreversible covalent inhibitors of HCV protease were designed to covalently target a unique
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