Thanks to a collaboration with the University of Siena and CNR of Pavia, a novel strategy to fight West Nile Virus and other emergent viruses
Following their recent study that led to the identification of the first molecule able to inhibit the replication of several viruses (such as Hepatitis C, HIV, Dengue) through the action on a cellular enzyme (DDX3), the research groups coordinated by Prof. Maurizio Botta from the University of Siena and Dr. Giovanni Maga from the IGM-CNR Pavia, also in collaboration with Lead Discovery Siena and Prof. Giannecchini from the University of Florence, have developed a novel family of DDX3 inhibitors which have been shown to be efficacious to block the replication of West Nile virus in human cells, without any damage to healthy cells.
These molecules, with promising pharmacokinetic properties, pave the way for the formulation of an innovative class of drugs directed against West Nile virus and other emergent viruses. The research has been published on the prestigious Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, published by the American Chemical Society.
West Nile virus is most commonly spread to people by the bite of infected mosquitoes that are also present in Italy where it is responsible for several infections each year, even with severe neurological complications. Moreover, this virus infects each year millions of persons all over the world. Despite continuous efforts being made to identify new drugs or vaccines, no specific therapy or prophylaxis is actually available on the market.
“Our approach – commented Prof. Botta and Dr. Maga – is highly innovative because exploits a cellular enzyme to block virus replication. Actually, it makes the cell an adverse environment for virus replication. Usually, antiviral drugs are directed against viral proteins which rapidly mutates and thus might become resistant to treatments. On the other side, our strategy is able to overcome this obstacle. Other viruses, such as Dengue and Zika, depend on DDX3 for their replication. Thus, our molecules could become broad spectrum antiviral therapeutic agents – not available so far – against emergent viruses. The good scientific research conducted in our Universities and at CNR has played a leading role in achieving such success. This work was made possible thanks to the precious economic support from Tuscany Region through the FAS Salute 2014 Grant (DD 4042/2014) and from First Health Pharmaceuticals B. V.”.
Published article on Journal Medicinal Chemistry
LDS joined the 25th edition of BIO 2018 held in Boston, U.S.A., from 4th to 7th June, the largest business partnering event (setting a new Guinness World Record!) for biotech and pharma companies.
BIO 2018 attracted 18,289 U.S. and international attendees, involved in 46,916 partnering meetings, who came together for one week of intensive networking to discover new opportunities and promising partnerships in a wide spectrum of life science and application areas including drug discovery, biomanufacturing, genomics, biofuels, nanotechnology and cell therapy.
LDS exhibited at the Italian Pavilion and had the possibility to network and connect to companies and potential partners. With over 20 scheduled meetings in two days, LDS met company delegates from US, Europe, China and Australia.
It was a great opportunity to increase its visibility on an international level, get feedback from experts and explore new solutions to sustain its projects.
From research to drug: it’s a matter of chemistry
LDS President Maurizio Botta and Anna Laura Brai, LDS Chemist, gave a short interview as part of “Looking to gain time” initiative by Toscana Life Sciences (TLS). The initiative intends to tell the stories about scientific research and innovation from the companies currently hosted in TLS.
During the interview, Maurizio Botta tells how the idea about LDS was born, its origin as a small University spin off in 2012 and how it now represents a successful institution involved in the discovery and development of new molecules of pharmaceutical interest. Anna Laura Brai explains then the researcher’s job in the company, from the first phase of identification of the target protein most indicated for the development of drugs, until drug synthesis and bio-distribution tests.
LDS is incubated in TLS since 2016. TLS is a non-profit organization active throughout the region in supporting research activities and promoting the creation of innovative companies in the Life Sciences field. Founded at the instigation of Tuscany’s principal university, clinical, industrial and financial institutions, the Foundation is based in Siena, in the historical “Torre Fiorentina” area, where Achille Sclavo founded the eponymous Istituto Sieroterapico e Vaccinogeno Toscano in 1904, and where important multinational vaccine companies now strategically choose to locate their primary research and development activities. An environment of excellence that is part of a regional panorama in which the Life Sciences play a strategic role.
The second edition of the Innovation2Business event was held on November 7th, at the Obihall in Florence.
The I2B workshop has been organised by the Innovation Center of Intesa Sanpaolo, with the support of Confindustria Toscana, University of Florence, University of Pisa, Tuscany Region, and Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies to bring together start-up companies, innovative PMIs and big companies looking for new services and technologies, in order to link innovation supply and demand.
About 200 Tuscan companies attended the event. The business performance in 2017 confirms that Tuscany has undertaken a path of growth and development and the next challenges are all about the ability to exploit and consolidate the current positive framework to finally propose as a distinctive reality able to steer the country.
LDS participated in the workshop to present its activities, research projects, and scientific services within scheduled meeting sessions with potentially interested parties. It was a significant day to meet many other realities from the life sciences sector in Tuscany and also from the finance area. The actors were given the chance to exploit new potential collaborations and business opportunities.
The official program provided two slots dedicated to I2B meetings and a round table with the stakeholder to boost the innovation process in Tuscany. An intervention from the Production Activities, Credit, Tourism, and Commerce Regional Ministry finally ended the meeting.
For more details, download the brochure of the event.
LDS has attended the last edition of Meet in Italy for Life Sciences which is the main national matchmaking and update event on topical issues in Life Sciences
LDS was present at the two working days of the MIT4LS, which was held in Turin from 11th to 12th October, as a great opportunity for business meetings, networking activities, and to be updated about industry’s key trends and innovation strategies. LDS participated to several bilateral face to face meetings with potential collaboration partners for science and business from several countries all over Europe and also outside.
MIT4LS was organised by Confindustria Piemonte, Piemonte Innnovation Cluster BioPmed, Life Sciences Technological Cluster Alisei, and Camera di Commercio di Torino and involved more than 400 participants from 36 countries with the aim to highlight innovative startup in the Life Sciences sector and facilitate new collaborations and business.
Lead Discovery Siena is Sponsor of the 11th EWDD. The workshop will be held in Certosa di Pontignano at the Conference Center of the University of Siena.
First in this kind, the European Workshop in Drug Design has always been a unique opportunity for graduate students, postdocs and scientists from both Academia and Pharma Industry to celebrate computer-aided drug design and discovery in an exciting and collaborative environment, looking at an impressive sight of the city of Siena from a monastic complex in the heart of the Chianti and Tuscany, and participating to highly interactive hands-on case studies.
LDS is pleased to support this workshop which offers an updated view on most recent modelling techniques and approaches together with the opportunity to meet representatives from both university and pharma industries. LDS will be present during the event and available to talk about the available range of research services and its drug discovery programmes.
On May 21-26, 2017
LDS has participated to the Toscana Life Sciences Day 2016, the annual event organized by the Foundation to promote the exchange and contamination of ideas, foster mutual knowledge and the confrontation among the companies and research groups hosted by TLS.
LDS gave a presentation to show its corporate and research activities, competences and platforms, to keep updated the other companies working in the Life Science area and identify potential common interests. It has been a great opportunity to strengthen the existing relationships and to build new potential collaborations with the several differing realities relating to TLS, from biotech to medical devices, medicinal chemistry, ICT, research services and nutraceutics.
Twenty companies participated to the event together with LDS, such as Pharma Integration, Liquidweb, T4All, egoHealth, Microbiotec, Exosomics Siena, CNR – IFC Siena, Fondazione NIBIT, Università di Siena – Dip. Scienze della Vita, Fondazione di Mario, Ebios Futura, TLS-Lab ERC, Kedrion, VisMederi, Bioscence Research Centre, Polo GGB, Epigen Therapeutics, Istituto Tumori Toscano, Università di Siena – Quantitative Neuroimaging Laboratory.
In this scenario, LDS is the only company working in the Medicinal Chemistry area by providing support to drug discovery projects.
At the end of the event, LDS Project Manager Laura Maccari gave an interview about the potential synergies of LDS with the other companies hosted by TLS.
FULL TLS DAY PROGRAM
We are proud to announce the participation of Lead Discovery Siena at the BIO USA 2016 convention which will be held in San Francisco, CA, USA, from 6th to 9th June 2016.
The BIO International Convention is hosted by the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO). BIO represents more than 1,100 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.
Through attending the BIO International Convention LDS benefits from accessing to global biotech and pharma leaders via BIO One-on-One Partnering, exposure to industry though-leaders with over 1,500 education sessions at your fingertips, and unparalleled networking opportunities with 16,000+ attendees from 76 countries.
Our delegates are hosted at Italy Pavilion 2529.
Lead Discovery is Sponsor of the 6th EWDSy (www.ewdsy.it). The workshop is held in Certosa di Pontignano at the Conference Center of the University of Siena, in May 15-19 2016.
The aim of this unique event is to provide a fertile ground for young chemists to share and exchange knowledge. These topics are covered by lectures of cutting-edge researchers in the mornings and dedicated sessions in the afternoon. There is also the possibility to attend to short talks from promising young researchers and shotgun presentations from selected posters.
The 2016 workshop is focused on: Novel Synthetic Procedures in Medicinal Chemistry, Neglected Diseases, HIV Research, and ADMET. All these subjects are strictly related to LDS research activities. The event provides a great opportunity to LDS to meet researchers from Universities and Pharmaceutical Industries and to get an update on most recent advances in the field