PhoreMost and Babraham Institute Awarded £0.6M Innovate UK Funding

15th June 2017

PhoreMost Ltd and Dr Simon Cook’s laboratory at the Babraham Institute, Cambridge have together announced that they are to receive a funding award of £0.6M from the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, to support a collaboration to develop “A novel discovery tool for positive selection of signalling pathway inhibitors.”

Based on PhoreMost’s proprietary Protein Interference technology, the Company has developed ‘SITESEEKER®’, a next-generation phenotypic screening platform that can identify the best new targets for drug development and, crucially, how to drug them.

The Innovate UK funding will support further development of PhoreMost’s SITESEEKER® platform in the form of a new discovery tool which reports inhibition of any signalling pathway as a simple, positively selectable event. As this system makes negative signals positive, we term it Upside-Down Screening, or ‘UDS’. The UDS format has broad applicability to signal transduction pathways in all therapeutic areas and will increase the efficiency and capacity of drug target identification screens. The collaboration with the Cook lab will enable a proof-of-concept for the UDS screening approach, which will involve deploying it to find inhibitors of the oncogenic RAS-RAF-MEK-ERK pathway.

We are delighted to receive this funding from Innovate UK. This is a tremendous opportunity to both develop UDS as a screening technology, and to apply this to find novel drug targets for the perennially hard-to-drug oncogenic KRAS. We are also very excited to be working together with Simon Cook from Babraham on this project, a world-leader in deciphering KRAS biology
commented Dr Chris Torrance, CEO of PhoreMost.

KRAS oncoproteins were discovered >30 yrs ago but there are no approved anti-KRAS drugs and many consider the RAS proteins undruggable. I am pleased to be working together with PhoreMost to develop the UDS screening format in pursuit of new drug targets for this important pathway
commented Dr Simon Cook from the Babraham Institute.