Cypralis was spun out from Selcia Ltd (Ongar, Essex) in 2013 to exploit its extensive expertise and know-how in targeting peptidyl-prolyl isomerases (known as PPIases), a large family of druggable protein targets involved in many acute and chronic diseases. Cypralis is dedicated to the discovery and development of innovative therapeutics for the inhibition of PPIases and expects to build upon its existing intellectual property estate through its own R&D activities and also through risk-sharing collaborations with pharmaceutical companies.
Peptidyl-prolyl isomerases are a well conserved class of enzymes found throughout nature, in microorganisms, plants and animals. They are characterized by their ability to catalyze the interconversion of cis- and trans- peptidyl-proline bonds in proteins and consequently are able to exert control over target protein structure and function. They are grouped into three main sub-families, the cyclophilins, FK506 binding proteins (FKBPs) and parvulins. The level of interest in PPIase related drug discovery has increased significantly in the last few years, as demonstrated by the increasing number of academic and industry sponsored publications.
The best known PPIase inhibitors are the marketed drugs cyclosporine, tacrolimus and pimecrolimus, which were originally developed as immunosuppressive agents. Cypralis is developing a pipeline of non-immunosuppressive cyclophilin inhibitors with different profiles for a range of potential indications, according to their sub-type selectivity and tissue distribution properties.