Using Charles River Laboratories’ recently acquired capture compound mass spectrometry (CCMS) technology, Enyo Pharma has successfully identified potential targets of its preclinical molecule series EYP002.
The two companies worked together to optimize this novel chemical series for inhibition of influenza replication. CCMS helped identify five potential targets, and scientists already observed an important functional effect of the series on one of them. It is now known that these chemicals modulate a family of proteins that regulate mitochondrial metabolism and stress responses controlling autophagy and apoptosis, according to Enyo.
Call it an unexpected outcome: The class of targets could also have additional applications in therapeutic areas other than infectious disease, a new direction that Enyo is exploring.
Charles River acquired CCMS target identification platform from German company Caprotec Bioanalytics in July.
CCMS uses trifunctional molecules, combining reversible affinity binding and covalent crosslinking, to selectively bind, capture, isolate and identify compound targets, and correlates specific binders with biological activity and target engagement, the CRO explained in an introductory piece. It is precise enough to differentiate off-target activity from proteins the compound is targeting, so researchers can knowingly avoid potential toxicity from such interactions.
“With Enyo, CCMS technology allowed us to jump directly into a rational drug design approach, utilizing the wider Charles River portfolio. We are now applying our scientific expertise to help Enyo explore new therapeutics with our in vivo models,” said Julie Frearson, Ph.D., Charles River’s VP of global business development and scientific affairs, in a statement.
Founded in 2014 by Inserm research scientists, a seed fund and investment angels, Lyon, France-based Enyo started with development of treatments for viral infections and completed in 2016 a €22 million series A led by venture capital firm Sofinnova Partners.
Its lead project, EYP001, a synthetic farnesoid X receptor (FXR) agonist that Enyo hopes could cure chronic hepatitis B, has passed phase 1 study and is also being examined as a NASH drug. According to the company, the drug blocks HBV replication in the liver by impacting transcriptional activity of covalently closed circular DNA.