Ongar, UK, 2nd March 2016 / Sciad Newswire / Cypralis, a life sciences company focussed on the discovery of novel therapeutics based on modulation of peptidyl-prolyl isomerases (PPIases), has appointed Dr Michael Peel as Chief Scientific Officer. He joins from Scynexis Inc, where he was Director of Discovery and led Scynexis' antifungal research collaboration that resulted in SCY-078 and their in-house cyclophilin inhibitor programs in virology, ophthalmology and immunology. Whilst at Scynexis, Mike opened several avenues into new biology and new potential applications for cyclophilin inhibition.
Dr Michael Peel is a medicinal chemist who undertook his PhD at Sheffield University in 1985. Following post-doctoral studies at Wayne State University (Detroit) he joined Glaxo Inc., based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina where he led several research projects in inflammation, cancer and virology, and played a key role in GSK's kinase research effort throughout. He then joined Scynexis in 2002 where he was responsible for building the Scynexis chemistry service group and directing DMPK and biology for in-house research. He is a British national but has been based in the US for the last 30 years.
Simon Kerr, CEO of Cypralis commented: "It is terrific to have been able to attract a senior industry professional of Mike's calibre to return from the US and re-enter what is now a vibrant UK biotech ecosystem. Mike's deep expertise in the field of cyclophilin inhibition will be highly complementary to the existing strengths of the team."
Michael Peel said: "I am excited to be joining the talented team at Cypralis, and I look forward to contributing to the development of novel, selective cyclophilin inhibitors that I believe can offer new treatment options for serious diseases."
Cypralis was spun out from Selcia Limited (Ongar, Essex) in 2013 to exploit its extensive expertise and know-how in targeting peptidyl-prolyl isomerases (known as PPIases), a large family of druggable protein targets involved in many acute and chronic diseases. Cypralis is dedicated to the discovery and development of highly innovative therapeutics through inhibition of PPIases and expects to build upon its existing intellectual property estate through its own R&D activities and also through risk-sharing collaborations with pharmaceutical companies. For further information visit www.cypralis.com
Cyclophilins are a family of enzymes that assist in the folding and transportation of other proteins synthesized within a cell and play key roles in a number of important cellular functions including transcription, translation, apoptosis and kinase singling. Cyclophilin D plays a pivotal role in controlling mitochondrial mediated programmed cell death, and Cypralis' selective inhibitors of CypD offer potential for treatment of both acute and chronic degenerative diseases including Alzheimer's disease, muscular dystrophies, and pancreatic inflammation. Further, secreted cyclophilins display chemotactic and cytokine-like activity, and compounds targeting the catalytic activity of extracellular cyclophilins show promise as treatments for disease states including vasculitis, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.