Babraham Institute research results in patent grants for CellCentric

Babraham Institute research results in patent grants for CellCentric

A European patent award has now been received, in addition to recent US grants, that covers a technology for site specific gene demethylation. This technology can be a useful tool in understanding the epigenetic regulation of cells, and the mechanisms used to control cell fate.  This has implications for understanding disease processes and potentially the development of new treatments.

CellCentric is a Cambridge UK, based biotechnology company, with its scientific foundation based on epigenetics.  It has collaborated with leading researchers throughout the world to identify ways of exploiting new knowledge and innovations in this emerging scientific area.

One technology, developed primarily by Professor Wolf Reik at the Babraham Institute, Cambridge, is a method to induce site specific demethylation of genes.  This is based on a cytidine deaminase system. Patent grants for this in the US were received earlier this year, and now the European equivalent has been received.

The technology can be used by bioscience and pharmaceutical researchers to investigate the influence of methylation and demethylation on specific gene expression within cells.  This is a key epigenetic control mechanism that helps regulate cell function.  When normal cell function and control is lost, disease can result.  Thus the technology could be a powerful tool for understanding disease, and potentially leading to new treatments.

CellCentric is focused on drug discovery – using epigenetic knowledge to drive novel treatments for cancer. 
The demethylation technology is adjunct to this activity.
The relevant patent numbers are:  EP 2 010 660 B1, US 8,298,529 B2 and US 8,658,393 B2.
Will West CEO, CellCentric Ltd. O: +44 1799 531 130 M: +44 7909 547 950

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Notes to Editors:
About the Babraham Institute:
The Babraham Institute undertakes world-class life sciences research to generate new knowledge of biological mechanisms underpinning ageing, development and the maintenance of health. Our research focuses on cellular signalling, gene regulation and the impact of epigenetic regulation at different stages of life. By determining how the body reacts to dietary and environmental stimuli and manages microbial and viral interactions, we aim to improve wellbeing and support healthier ageing. The Institute is strategically funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), part of UK Research and Innovation, through an Institute Core Capability Grant and also receives funding from other UK research councils, charitable foundations, the EU and medical charities.
The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is the UK funding agency for research in the life sciences. Sponsored by Government, BBSRC annually invests around £450 million in a wide range of research that makes a significant contribution to the quality of life for UK citizens and supports a number of important industrial stakeholders including the agriculture, food, chemical, health and well-being and pharmaceutical sectors. BBSRC carries out its mission by funding internationally competitive research, providing training in the biosciences, fostering opportunities for knowledge transfer and innovation and promoting interaction with the public and other stakeholders on issues of scientific interest in universities, centres and institutes.

About CellCentric
CellCentric is a biotechnology company, founded with Prof Azim Surani FRS of University of Cambridge, one of the earliest pioneers in epigenetics. Epigenetic mechanisms play a key role in regulating cell fate. When these processes go awry, disease states can be induced, including most notably cancer. CellCentric is focused on drug discovery for prostate cancer, and specifically castrate resistant prostate cancer.  By focusing on epigenetic-related targets, it is possible to modulate the androgen receptor pathway to combat the disease and overcome many of the resistance limitations seen with current approved drugs.  The company’s drug discovery activity is funded privately from investors, coupled with support from the Technology Strategy Board, the UK’s innovation agency.