MTL - 201: an innovative system for discovering new targets in various major diseases
MTL-201 is a platform technology which identifies new proteins and genes that share the ability to inhibit apoptosis (programmed cell death). Aberrant production of proteins that inhibit apoptosis causes diverse diseases such as cancer, neurodegeneration, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease and viral and bacterial infections. The technology Morvus has developed is rapid to use and inexpensive and Morvus has demonstrated that target proteins identified by the technology are not structurally related, thus a wide range of potential therapeutic strategies can be envisaged.
Morvus has signed an agreement to license the commercialisation of this technology in the areas of rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes but has retained the rights for other major diseases and intends to vigorously pursue this technology, particularly in oncology.
MTL - 101: selective activation of prodrugs by tumour-associated enzymes
Morvus has a core expertise in the development of anticancer prodrugs. These are agents that are inert but converted to a highly cytotoxic form by the action of an enzyme. Over-expression of the enzyme in tumour rather than chemosensitive normal tissue is the basis for a selective anti-tumour therapy.
Morvus is investigating prodrugs that are activated by the human enzyme NQO1 which is over-expressed in lung, colon and breast tumours and, in particular, is strongly over-expressed in non small-cell lung cancer. The prodrugs are designed to be activated by either nitro-, azo- or quinone reduction thus allowing agents to be selected for specific applications. The compounds are designed, synthesised and evaluated in house and in collaboration with several university departments. Two lead series of compounds have already been identified using in vitro assays.
MTL - 401: genetic modification of clostridium for medical applications
Morvus are using genetic modification techniques to potentially generate an anti-cancer treatment. A bacterium is being engineered which will be able to express a prodrug-activating enzyme at tumour sites where it can be used to activate a subsequently-administered prodrug. Such a treatment has the potential to treat the majority of solid tumours thus opening up a large potential market to Morvus.