Cyclica Awarded Grant from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to Discover Non-Hormonal Contraceptive

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Author: HIT Consultant Media (Syed Hamza Sohail)

Cyclica Teams with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to Discover Non-Hormonal Contraceptive

What You Should Know:

Cyclica Inc., a neo-biotech that is exploring the entire protein universe to advance a robust and sustainable drug discovery portfolio, has received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop new, non-hormonal contraceptives for low-data biological protein targets.

– The CAD$2.4M grant from the foundation enables Cyclica to apply its validated, AI-enabled drug discovery platform towards the discovery of expanded contraceptive options that can give women and girls the ability to better plan their families and their futures.

AI-enabled Drug Discovery Platform Discovering New Therapeutic Options For Multiple Low-Data Targets

As a neo-biotech, Cyclica is efficiently advancing an industry-leading, robust and sustainable drug discovery portfolio focused on CNS, oncology, and auto-immune diseases. Cyclica has built the only generalizable platform across the entire proteome, expanding the target space for low-data targets, including AlphaFold2 structures, PPIs, and mutant oncogenic targets. Cyclica has brought together a diverse and experienced team of biologists, chemists, computer scientists, and business professionals who are collectively passionate about changing the drug discovery paradigm. By exploring the unexplored, and drugging the undrugged, Cyclica strives to impact patient health like never before.

Gender equality is one of several core areas of focus of the foundation. To that end, the Gates Foundation is working to empower women and girls to take charge of their own health, enabling them to make informed decisions about family planning and have access to contraceptive options that meet their needs. Historically, hormone-based contraceptives are known to cause wide-ranging side effects that reduce their appeal in these countries. A widely available non-hormonal contraceptive would provide an additional safe, effective choice for women and girls looking to take charge of their reproductive health.

To date, research on discovering non-hormonal contraceptive agents has been hindered by a dearth of validated and enabled drug targets. While there are a small set of targets with sufficient supporting biological data and technical feasibility to warrant substantial investment, there are a set of less mature and emerging targets where the availability of new chemical starting points would enable novel robust target assessment and biological investigation. Here, Cyclica aims to have a dramatic impact since its platform is optimized for drug discovery against low-data drug targets.

“While Cyclica builds and advances a commercial portfolio of drug discovery programs, it is part of our corporate ethos to work alongside nonprofit organizations to advance research for unmet medical needs,” said Naheed Kurji, CEO of Cyclica. “Among women who want to delay or avoid pregnancy, concerns about side effects are the most common reason they give for not using modern contraception. We are honored to have the trust of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to work towards discovering new, hormone-free contraceptives that will expand the range of contraceptive options available to women and girls.”

“Cyclica has a track record of success in the low-data target area for unmet clinical needs. We have the experience needed to tackle this currently undrugged, high-need project, and progress it to the clinic on a faster and less costly trajectory than that offered by traditional methods,” said Mike Palovich, chief science officer of Cyclica. “I’m impressed with the network of experts that the Gates Foundation has brought together and I’m looking forward to Cyclica contributing to this meaningful project.”

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