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GEN News Highlights : Feb 20, 2013

Proteologics, Newcastle Innovation Aim to Help Others Breathe Easier

Good news for asthma sufferers: Proteologics has teamed up with Newcastle Innovation, the tech transfer company of the University of Newcastle, Australia in an exclusive license agreement to develop and commercialize therapeutics for respiratory and other diseases based on the target Midline-1, an E3 ubiquitin ligase.

University of Newcastle researchers identified Midline-1 (also known as TRIM 18) as a target that regulates airway inflammation and promotes allergen and rhinovirus-induced asthma by inhibiting protein phosphatase 2A activity. These findings were published in the January 2013 issue of Nature Medicine. Reportedly, a potential advantage of a small molecule inhibitor of Midline-1 is that it would be nonsteroidal, thus overcoming the increasing resistance to current steroid-based or other anti-inflammatory asthma treatments.

Newcastle Innovation CEO Brent Jenkins, Ph.D., added, "The agreement with Proteologics marks a significant milestone in the evolution of laboratory discovery to proof-of-concept and the development of effective therapeutics. We are proud of the achievements to date and are confident new treatments will be available in the near future."

Proteologics, a company based in Rehovot, Israel, focuses primarily on discovering inhibitors for specific E3 ubiquitin ligases, which, according to the firm, are believed to offer novel drug targets for many types of cancer, metabolic disease, viral infections, and CNS-related disorders. They had an agreement with Teva Pharmaceutical Industries going back to 2005 toward developing drugs targeting ubiquitin ligases for cancer therapy; however, Teva ended the collaboration in December.