CSS Albachem Secures a Share of £3.7 million R&D Programme
March 4, 2005
CSS-Albachem – a Division of Craigavon-based Almac Sciences Group – has secured part of a £3.7 million R&D programme from ITI Life Sciences focused on the development of cell-based, pharmaceutical screening technologies to address a significant bottleneck in the drug discovery and development process.
This is the first programme launched by ITI Life Sciences and follows a detailed analysis of the pharmaceutical market and its existing and future needs for this technology. ITI Life Sciences is a new company driving Scotland’s ambitious plans to identify, develop and commercialise valuable technology-based intellectual assets in the life sciences sector. The group’s aim is to bridge the increasing funding gap between publicly funded early stage research and privately backed commercial development.
The three-year programme will take place in Scotland as a three-way collaboration between CSS-Albachem Ltd, Edinburgh Instruments Ltd and Hannah InterActions Ltd. Edinburgh Instruments is globally recognised in the development and manufacture of high-tech optoelectronics instrumentation whilst Hannah InterActions brings expertise in advanced cell based technologies specializing in cell function and its relevance to cancer. CSS-Albachem are acknowledged experts in the provision of complex and challenging peptides and proteins. Initially the programme is focused on developing instrumentation and cell-based screens for breast cancer, with plans to expand to other disease areas as the technology develops.
Cell-based screening is a key step in the drug discovery and development process where it is used to rapidly evaluate cellular mechanisms of disease as well as the effects of new drug candidates, such as distribution, metabolism or toxicity, in relevant cells.
This information is vital to pharmaceutical companies as it allows the selection of the most appropriate compounds to develop further. Three-dimensional cell cultures represent the most advanced model to date, providing a much closer representation of the biological environment in living organisms than previous biochemical models.
Approximately half of all assays used in this way are cell based and this represented a global market opportunity of US$750 million in 2004. ITI Life Sciences estimates this market will grow by 20% over the coming years and the use of sophisticated fluorescence-detection methods is set to account for two thirds of this.
In the ITI Life Sciences programme, the three participating companies involved will provide complementary expertise in order to develop and commercialise ‘Fluorescence Lifetime’ cell-based assay products, including ‘off the freezer shelf’ cells ready for screening, unique fluorescence-linked reagents and state-of-the-art optics and detection instruments.
David Moody, Vice President Commercial Operations said:
“We are delighted by this important development for us and our industry. We are committed to solving challenging problems for our customers from drug discovery to API supply. Partnerships such as this are important in achieving that end and will remain a feature of our strategy.”
CSS is a dynamic and entrepreneurial company, which has experienced excellent growth since its inception. CSS is Ireland’s leading provider of chemistry and analytical services to the pharmaceutical industry. CSS operates from sites in Northern Ireland and Scotland.
Almac Sciences and its affiliated companies (CSS, CTS, ICTI, PDMS, ArraDx) provide pharmaceutical services across drug discovery, manufacture of API, clinical trials and drug product manufacture. Operations are based in USA (Pennsylvania, North Carolina and California) and London in addition to Northern Ireland.
Notes to Editors
CSS-Albachem is a Scottish biotechnology company based near Edinburgh, founded on the science of Professor Robert Ramage, a world expert in the chemical synthesis and purification of peptides and proteins. The company is a leading player in the provision of complex and challenging peptides and proteins to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries for application in basic research, drug discovery, diagnostics and therapeutics development. CSS-Albachem is part of the Almac Sciences group and was established in 2004, when CSS acquired a controlling interest in Albachem.
CSS recently launched a collaboration with leading chiral technology specialists IEP and ChiralQuest in forming The Chiral Consortium.
Ref: Press Release December 2004
About ITI Life Sciences
ITI Life Sciences is a new company driving Scotland’s ambitious plans to identify, develop and commercialise valuable technology-based intellectual assets in the life sciences sector.
The group’s aim is to bridge the increasing funding gap between publicly funded early stage research and privately backed commercial development.
ITI Life Sciences is one of three new initiatives focused on important areas where Scotland has strong economic and business potential; the other areas are Techmedia and Energy. Each ITI has a minimum of £150 million from the Scottish government to invest over a ten-year period.
ITI Life Sciences operates a sophisticated business model to identify future emerging markets and business opportunities across all areas of life sciences and to evaluate Scotland’s ability to develop commercially viable solutions to meet future global market needs.
Where such opportunities arise, ITI Life Sciences will commission research to develop market-driven intellectual assets that can be commercialised by companies to stimulate long-term, sustainable growth in the Scottish life sciences sector.
For more information, see www.itilifesciences.com
About Edinburgh Instruments Ltd
Edinburgh Instruments (EI) was established in 1971 as one of the first spin-out companies of the Scottish University base. Positioning itself in the specialist optoelectronics instrumentation sector, EI has sold products throughout the world, with the export market accounting for 80% of its sales and a customer base that includes many multinationals as well as highly focussed academic research facilities. In more recent years EI has established a reputation in the field of lifetime fluorescence, with the Fluorescence Lifetime Spectrometer (FLS920) being the current lead product. The technology underpinning this instrumentation is pivotal to EI’s role in the ITI programme, which aims to maximise the advantages afforded by lifetime fluorescence, namely increased sensitivity, specificity and overall robustness, and to couple this with advanced optical components and analytical software to allow detailed interrogation of cellular processes.
About Hannah InterActions Ltd
Hannah InterActions Ltd (HIA), through its Hannah Cell Science division, provides cell-based products and cell-biological analysis to clients in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology