Karus Therapeutics Extends Drug Discovery Programme to Target HDAC-6

23-Feb-2010 - United Kingdom

Karus Therapeutics Ltd, a company engaged in the discovery and development of molecular-targeted drugs to treat inflammation and cancer, announced it had extended its HDAC drug discovery programme to include small molecules that selectively inhibit HDAC-6, a target of emerging importance in the treatment of immune-inflammatory disorders.

Karus has recently designed and developed a novel series of highly potent and selective HDAC-6 inhibitors which display excellent anti-inflammatory activity, notably in preclinical models of Rheumatoid Arthritis, and which have additional potential across a wide range of immune-inflammatory disorders.

Until recently, the development of HDAC inhibitors has been focused mainly on the treatment of cancer. However, there is a growing body of evidence from preclinical in vitro and in vivo models that the inhibition of HDAC-6 leads to increased expression of the FOXP3 transcription factor, a protein which plays a key role in the development and immunosuppressive function of regulatory T-cells in the context of chronic diseases such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriasis, Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus and Organ Transplant Rejection.

“There is a significant opportunity for the development of an important new class of anti-inflammatory drugs which selectively target HDAC-6.” said Karus Therapeutics CEO Simon Kerry “While HDAC inhibitors have been predominantly developed for use in oncology, our selective inhibitors of HDAC-6 have important anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive qualities, which should translate into the effective treatment of a wide number of inflammatory indications and post-transplantation procedures.”

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