Ongar, UK, 30th November 2015 / Sciad NewswireScientists from the University of Edinburgh, working with Selcia, an international life sciences contract research organisation, have successfully passed the 20-month milestone targets of a 30-month Wellcome Trust SDDi £2.5 million project to design novel treatments for sleeping sickness.

The aim of the project is to design a drug to inhibit a key parasite enzyme involved in the conversion of blood sugars to energy, to be effective in small doses, even on advanced infections, and kill the parasite.

Current treatments for the disease require high doses, can be fatal or cause debilitating side-effects and require long stays in hospital. The collaborative project team hopes to develop safe, effective medicines that can be given easily, prevent damage to the central nervous system and ultimately save lives.

Professor Malcolm Walkinshaw, of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Biological Sciences, said: “Sleeping sickness is a widespread, neglected disease which, if left untreated, is invariably fatal and current drugs are poorly effective. Working with Selcia, we have made excellent progress towards developing compounds that can be easily administered and may eventually help curb the disease’s impact.”

Dr Vicky Steadman, Director of Discovery at Selcia, said: “We are delighted to collaborate with the University of Edinburgh’s School of Biological Sciences. Both teams have worked well together to facilitate the success of the project. Selcia is committed to developing strong links with academic research teams. We see these partnerships as a key strategic element of our growing integrated drug discovery offering.”


Notes to editors

For further information, please contact:

Professor Malcolm Walkinshaw
University of Edinburgh
School of Biological Sciences
Tel: 0131 650 7056

Catriona Kelly
University of Edinburgh
Press and PR Office
Tel: 0131 651 4401

Andy Matthews
O2PR Ltd
Tel: +44 (0)7967 153754

Dave Roberts
Selcia Ltd
Tel: +44 (0) 1277 367000

Project launch press release

A press release was issued at the start of the collaborative project and can be found here:

About Selcia

Selcia is a privately held contract research organisation providing integrated small molecule drug discovery with specialist expertise in the medicinal chemistry of macrocycles, including cyclic peptides, their simplification and optimisation for drug use together with a unique peptidyl prolyl isomerase (PPIase) inhibitor screening platform. Selcia is also a global leader in radiochemistry providing 14C GMP radiolabelled API for clinical trials and 14C custom radiolabelling for drug metabolism, dermal penetration and environmental fate studies.

About the University of Edinburgh’s School of Biological Sciences

The University of Edinburgh’s School of Biological Sciences is at the leading edge in teaching, research and innovation. It is one of the largest biological departments of its kind and is consistently placed among the top 25 universities in the World for biological sciences.

About the Wellcome Trust

“The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to improving health. We provide more than £700 million a year to support bright minds in science, the humanities and the social sciences, as well as education, public engagement and the application of research to medicine.

Our £18 billion investment portfolio gives us the independence to support such transformative work as the sequencing and understanding of the human genome, research that established front-line drugs for malaria, and Wellcome Collection, our free venue for the incurably curious that explores medicine, life and art.

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