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C4X Discovery's bargain buy boosts its drug-finding software

Drug discovery company snaps up software system for "non-material" sum
Genetic data
C4X is on the verge of using genetic data to unearth trailblazing new drugs

C4X Discovery Holdings plc (LON:C4XD) has snapped up a software system that helps identify drug candidates.

It paid private company MolPlex Ltd, which is in administration, a “non-material amount” for the technology, which complements its Conformetrix system.

Conformetrix helps users see the shapes of small molecules in a new level of detail and sophistication.

This in turn means scientists are able to develop drugs with the desired and potent impact on the illness or disease.

MolPlex will enable C4X not only to generate the chemical starting point for drug programmes quickly, but also to predict whether the resulting molecules have “drug-able qualities”.

Being able to do this sort of analysis reduces the cost, time and attrition in early drug development and increases the likelihood of eventual clinical success.

The MolPlex suite of technologies were originally developed at Newcastle University.

What the chief executive said

On the acquisition…

Dr Clive Dix said: “These new technologies, which we have brought into the business on very economical terms, complement our existing platform.”

On the company’s progress…

“We are rapidly building an internal pipeline of exciting therapeutic programmes and moving steadily towards realising our goal of becoming the world's most productive drug discovery and development company.”

About the company

C4X Discovery reckons its expanding portfolio of drug identification technologies has put it on the brink of unearthing “trailblazing” new medicines.

The group has identified multiple novel drug targets in both rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and Parkinson’s disease using its proprietary genetic analysis system, Taxonomy3.

Taxonomy is a mathematical tool for analysing publicly available datasets, such as those from the Wellcome Trust, to identify genetic links that can speed up early-stage drug development.

C4X believes it can use its software to identify treatments for other neuro-degenerative diseases and inflammatory conditions.

It says new medicines based on genetic data can be far more effective than existing treatments.

C4X owns its own compounds and has partnerships with pharma, biotech and academic groups.

Dix told Proactive Investors in an interview: “Some of the first ones will be trailblazers and we hope to get them to clinic over a normal timeline or maybe even a shortened timeline, giving us some valuable and badly needed medicines.

“We believe we can carry out drug discovery at a pace that is competitive, if not better than, the industry standard.

“Speed doesn’t mean more cost - in fact, we believe the way we do it can be cheaper than the norm.”

“Obviously when we get to full development, these will be large trials, but we think we can use our genetic development tools to pick the right patient groups and shorten some of those.”

“Then it’ll be big bucks we’ll have to spend and we’ll either do it alone or partner with some of the other pharmaceutical companies to share some of the risk and upside.”

C4X believes it can get to a clinical candidate in less than two years.

Dix added: “Acquiring this technology was the right thing to do. We know we’ll be able to discover and start new programmes at a very rapid rate. We expect to begin four to five new programmes every year.

“Once we’re up and running and fully resourced, these will be producing four to five new clinical candidates a year and we’ll be doing that within two to three years.

“We expect to get there and we’re very bullish.”

What the shares did

Shares in C4X Discovery ticked up 5p, or 4.3%, to 122.5p in midday London trading.

What the brokers said

Numis Securities noted that Molplex has a large virtual library of drug compounds, various drug/target simulation systems and algorithms that can predict the pharmaco-kinetic and pharmaco-dynamic properties of chemicals.

The broker’s Paul Cuddon said in a note: “These would appear a good fit with C4X’s Taxonomy (genetic analysis platform) and Conformetrix (3D drug modelling).”

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C4X Discovery Holdings plc Timeline

Big Picture
November 15 2017

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