Queens University Belfast
In 2012 Almac Discovery and Queens University entered into a long-term strategic collaboration designed to marry the research and clinical capabilities of the university with the medicinal chemistry and translational biology expertise of Almac Discovery. The initiative has been supported over the last 3 years by a £4.4M Invest Northern Ireland grant.
The Center for Precision Therapeutics is based in Queen’s University and brings together a wealth of talent, experience and expertise from Almac Discovery scientists and Queens University researchers. Their work will focus on the use of biomarkers to identify patient requirements and, through the use of targeted medicines and procedures, ultimately enables the right treatment is delivered to the right patient at the right time. The dedicated Center represents a substantial investment by Almac over a 3 year period of which a proportion will be provided by Invest Northern Ireland via the Grant for R&D Program. This Grant is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth and Jobs Program 2014-2020.
In 2016, Almac Discovery began a collaboration with Montreal based McGill University, working closely with Dr. Simon Wing, an endocrinologist and world expert in muscle wasting. Using expertise only accessible in Dr. Wing’s lab, Almac Discovery have been working to validate its Ubiquitin Specific Protease 19 (USP19) compound in muscle wasting diseases.
Ubiquitin Specific Proteases (USPs) are enzymes involved in removing small polypeptide ubiquitin adducts from proteins. These adducts act as signals and modify protein degradation, localization, cellular localization and interaction. As yet USPs have proven difficult to drug by conventional means although they hold out the promise of low toxicity and access to a wide range of therapeutic indications. Muscle wasting diseases represent a high level of unmet need in terms of burden on the health system, with only limited treatment options currently available.