Cloud-based drug development company Cloud Pharmaceuticals has designed a novel active pro-drug for the treatment of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. The design of the drug comes from teamwork between experts at Cloud Pharmaceuticals, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), and the University of Florida (UF), and results will soon be published in the journal Current Topics in Medicinal Chemistry.
Evidence has shown that in severely inflamed mucosa of patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, PLA2 proteins have an increased activity compared to normal colonic mucosa. PLA2 may be used as a drug-activating enzyme, allowing the targeting of the gut inflammation sites.
Phospholipase A2 (PLA2) is one of the most intensively studied membrane proteins that hydrolyzes phospholipids at the sn-2 position to form fatty acid and lysophospholipid products. These are small proteins with known 3-D structures. PLA2 is also involved in intracellular trafficking.
Using a specific method to predict the activation of phospholipid-drug conjugates by PLA2, researchers invented a new way to design pro-drugs. In the study, researchers show in vitro experimental data on the calculated activity associated with indomethacin-phospholipid conjugate. Based on specific computations, the researchers developed new designs of other phospholipid-pro-drug sets that showed activity as the team expected.
Cloud Pharmaceuticals CSO Dr. Shahar Keinan said in a recent press release the company is excited about developing this “new computational capability, adding the development of pro-drugs to our current offering.”
“This capability improves the speed and lowers the cost of designing novel drugs that are acutely needed to help patients with inflammatory bowel disease,” Keinan said.
Cloud Pharmaceuticals uses its proprietary Quantum Molecular Design process, which combines artificial intelligence and cloud computing to search virtual molecular space, applying sophisticated molecular modeling to design novel drugs.
IBD is used primarily to describe two conditions, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Both disorders are long-term (chronic) conditions that involve inflammation of the gut (gastrointestinal tract). Ulcerative colitis only affects the colon (large intestine), while Crohn’s disease can affect the entire digestive system.