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Innovators Centauri Therapeutics in Race Against Time

Posted on 08/04/16

According to Dr Margaret Chan, director general of the World Health Organisation, our society is on the brink of losing the ‘miracle cures’ that antibiotics offer.

The message is a stark one. However, there is hope, thanks to the work of companies like Centauri Therapeutics, which is striving to discover and develop novel molecules targeting life threatening diseases. The company has recently received two major investments that will aid its work; something that appears to be of critical necessity on a global scale.

“We’ve been trying to develop new drugs to treat bacterial infections and cancers,” he explained. “The infections we’re looking to treat are those that are resistant to current antibiotics, which is something politicians and healthcare workers around the world are increasingly worried about.”

Centauri are working with Alphamer technology, which is based on ‘programmable immunity’ in which chemically synthesised molecules re-direct naturally occuring antibodies to selected pathogens to fight the infection. The technology was acquired from American inventor Kary Mullis, who won the Nobel Prize for inventing PCR (polymerase chain reaction), which makes processes like DNA testing and human genome sequencing possible.

“Kary came up with the idea of a drug that would latch onto the bacteria and the immune system would immediately see it as foreign and start fighting the infection, because it’s been instantly educated. That’s what we’re trying to develop.”

Centauri was among the first to receive support from the Discovery Park Technology Investment Fund enabled us to do two things,” Mike said. “It helped to bring other money, because people saw that we were investable and it also helped us to really lock our R&D headquarters to Sandwich, because it’s a regional fund.

“For me, that was both valuable and important - the region has a wealth of talented scientists in the area because Pfizer used to have the site. Being able to tap in to that workforce and build a small but very experienced team from scratch is something that’s normally very easy to do.

“Working together with Discovery Park, we could get facilities and staff that were perfect for our needs.”

Read the full article in the April/May edition of South East Business

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