Swansea spin-out business identifes novel host-pathogen interaction drug targets

Moleculomics, a company who specialise in high-throughput prediction of molecular interactions using cutting-edge in silico modelling and screening tools, has recently completed a project funded by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory’s (Dstl) Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE). It focuses on the identification of host-pathogen interactions which can be manipulated in order to devise novel therapies to meet the UK’s current and future defence and security needs.

The CDE competition was designed to develop innovative therapies with broad activity against diverse microbial (bacterial and viral) challenges; specifically to combat the pathogenicity resulting from inhalational exposure, followed by persistent intracellular infection which is resistant to antibiotics.  Dstl’s Dr Jon David commented “as our knowledge of cellular interactions that underpin and control host responses increases, the potential for identifying new cellular targets or pathways for manipulation with new candidate therapies becomes enhanced”.

This novel approach aids the development of such therapies and acts as the starting point for the targeting of the interfacial regions of host proteins for potential modulation of host innate immune responses after a high-threat microbial challenge.  This systematic approach is applicable to both new and already known cellular or host pathway targets, and is achieved using the latest computational frameworks to produce a platform technology for use by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and other organisations involved in the development of new antibacterial therapies. 

As a company which has developed core capabilities in small molecule – protein interactions, this project represents the first commercial application of such a Protein-Protein Interaction predictive tool.  Dr Jonathan Mullins, Moleculomics CEO commented “we are extremely pleased with the outcome of this project which has not only delivered on the objectives for Dstl, but has also resulted in a panel of 1120 proteins of the innate immune system which we are now able to offer as a commercial service for high throughput screening aiding the development of therapies to target host-pathogen interactions”.


Moleculomics provides high-performance computing biosimulation tools, data resources and platforms focused on system-wide prediction of molecular interactions for the purpose of whole proteome / diverse chemistry in silico lead discovery and pathway analysis, evaluating whole system compound efficacy and toxicity.

The information is of high value to scientific and commercial decisions involved in the development and appropriation of new and existing compounds, by providing the ability to identify and prioritize efficacious leads whilst simultaneously identifying toxic or adverse reactions early in the R&D cycle.

Moleculomics Ltd is a Swansea-based SME established by Jonathan Mullins, an Associate Professor at Swansea University’s Institute of Life Sciences, in order to ensure that the outputs of his academic research are used to benefit society and with the aim of creating new wealth and jobs in the Welsh digital life science sector.

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