In Mar-08 the EEDA awarded Selcia a 1 year R&D grant of up to £94k funding a project to evaluate anti-inflammatory activity of SEL-100130. In Feb-09 the grant was extended for 6 months and a patent application was filed in Sep-09.
In March 2008 the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) awarded Selcia Ltd a Research and Development Grant for 1 year, the grant covering 60% of project costs.
The award of the EEDA grant, along with the commissioning of a Class II GM containment cell biology laboratory, provided the basis of the first joint in-house biology and chemistry project and represented a turning point in the Selcia business model towards drug discovery.
The company had hypothesised that the compound SEL-100130, a compound known in the literature for antiviral activity, might also have anti-inflammatory properties. The grant enabled Selcia Discovery to establish a set of screens detecting the inhibition of events downstream of cytokine receptors, i.e. of anti-inflammatory activity.
In the course of the project, not only could it be verified that SEL-100130 did have the hypothesised properties (e.g. potent inhibition of IL-1b stimulated IL-8 secretion from endothelial cells such as HUVEC) without being toxic to the cells, it was also possible to establish synthetic procedures for a range of analogues and to study structure-activity relationships.
Finally, it was also verified that SEL-100130 acts as a potent inflammation inhibitor in vivo upon topical administration to the skin (oxazalone-induced allergic contact dermatitis).
Thus, with the help of the EEDA grant it has been possible to verify that SEL-100130 is indeed a potent anti-inflammatory agent in vitro and in vivo. The activity appears to be of a novel type, but the actual biological mechanism of this activity remains as yet unidentified.
The results obtained enabled the filing of a patent application on new therapeutic application of this compound family. Selcia is continuing to investigate this new class of agents with the aim to develop a new category of anti-inflammatory agents, initially for topical therapy.