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 Centre 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 Centre 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 Programme. This Grant is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth and Jobs Programme 2014-2020.
In June 2015 the Almac Discovery team entered an R&D collaboration with Elasmogen, an Aberdeen University-based biologics drug discovery company, to co-develop Elasmogen’s soloMERTM technology for the treatment of solid tumours.
Elasmogen and Almac jointly manage the research and development activities aimed at developing a drug candidate to an oncology target. Both parties share costs, with Almac being responsible for commercialisation.
SoloMERsTM are humanised versions of antibody-like proteins that were first discovered in sharks. They are chemically robust molecules that tolerate conjugation well. It’s believed that soloMERsTM bind specifically to the cancer tissue and will penetrate inside the tumour before releasing their war-head of anti-cancer drugs, maximising the damage to the tumour and minimising the toxic effects to healthy tissues.