Caithness Biotechnologies Harnessing Nature for drug discovery


1) Advantages
2) Novelty
3) Rationale
4) Intellectual property
5) Unique molecules
6) Hit-rate
7) Diversity
8) Resupply
9) Unextracted herbs
10) Extraction
11) Ethnic data
12) Screening
13) Shelf-life
14) Kit sizes
15) Separation
16) Human studies
17) Pre-fractionation
18) 'Frequent hitters'


Frequently asked questions

2) Won’t I just discover known compounds? Will I be able to generate IP?

The Phytotitre library contains many plants which have been very little studied, and therefore has potential for the discovery of new compounds. (The chart below shows that many of the plants in the library have received few citations in PubMed, and some have received no citations at all).

Citations studying natural products included in the Phytotire library

However, it should be noted that although many of the hits from this library may turn out to be established compounds, and are therefore not directly patentable, derivatives of these compounds or their scaffolds offer excellent opportunities for IP generation, especially if a means of synthesis can be described.

This model has yielded some of the most profitable drugs of all time (e.g. the statins, with global sales of >$130 Bn), and continues to be a fruitful source of IP (>50% of new drugs from 1981-2010 were nature-inspired). [1]

In terms of novelty, however, the greater emphasis should be placed on the new target and assay. To date, only about 400 pharmacological targets have been screened and successfully drugged. By contrast, tens of thousands of potential protein targets and their partner interactions have never been screened for modulation by small molecules before.

These targets, and particularly the bioassays developed to explore or quantify their function, offer vast potential for new drug discovery. The novelty of any new screening programme therefore depends not so much the library, but rather the discovery of a new potential target that may be linked to disease or another relevant phenotype, and the establishment of a bioassay to measure the function of that target.

In other words, the key value and novelty are to be found in your new target and assay. Phytotitre aims to bring accessible high-quality screening to these new targets and assays.

[1] Newman DJ, Cragg GM. Natural products as sources of new drugs over the 30 years from 1981 to 2010. J Nat Prod 75:311-335 (2012)


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