The world needs more companies like Cures Within Reach (CWR), a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for patients worldwide. A Chicago-based company founded in 2005, Cures Within Reach has had a positive impact on drug discovery programs across North America. A significant portion of this impact stems from Cures Within Reach's support of drug repurposing research, a practice that finds alternative therapeutic uses for approved drugs, which accelerates the development of treatments for the diseases in which no therapy currently exists. An added benefit of drug repurposing is the resulting reduction of cost for developing therapies for new indications, opening doors to treating diseases that afflict small populations (also known as orphan diseases).
One of the many diseases that Cures Within Reach is helping to find new therapies for is Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF), a chronic lung disease that mainly effects the worldwide elderly population. To date, Cures Within Reach researchers have identified several drug repurposing candidates for the treatment of IPF. However, due to the high cost associated with validating numerous candidates, Cures Within Reach required prioritization of drug candidates that had the greatest probability of translating into an IPF therapy. This is where Cyclica came into the picture. Cyclica’s technology excels at comparing drug candidates, providing insights that are impossible using other methodologies. Together with Cures Within Reach researchers, Cyclica facilitated drug repurposing efforts for IPF.
Using their proteome docking platform, Cyclica investigated all of the drug repurposing candidates identified by Cures Within Reach, and generated distinct proteome docking profiles for each drug. With proteome docking profiles in hand, Cyclica was eager to pilot its newly developed analytical functionality to provide Cures Within Reach with an additional level of analysis. The new feature, SWITCHx, is a data mining technology that helps determine the biological consequences of a predicted drug-protein interaction - in other words, it can predict whether a drug will be a negative effector or a positive effector (i.e. will inhibit or activate the protein of interest, respectively). This is a critical consideration when predicting the potential therapeutic effect of small molecules, since having an undesirable effect on a protein target can mean the difference between treating a disease and causing its progression. Accordingly, Cyclica identified proteins relevant to IPF and used SWITCHx to assess effector type for each drug repurposing candidate. With this information and additional analyses using DIVEx, a platform supporting chemogenomics visualization tools, Cyclica identified three lead drug repurposing candidates that Cures Within Reach can strategically investigate as a new potentially efficacious and safe IPF therapeutic.
Cyclica is delighted to have collaborated with Cures Within Reach to facilitate their mission of delivering treatments safely and cheaply to patients.