ARTICLE | Product Development

Ticking off inflammation

September 26, 2005 7:00 AM UTC

Over millions of years, ticks have evolved an ability to remain undetected on humans for several weeks while they enjoy a blood meal. They achieve this by injecting a cocktail of molecules into the skin that suppress the body's normal immune and inflammatory defense mechanisms. Evolutec Group plc has isolated and characterized these molecules and is using them to develop a series of anti-inflammatory compounds with novel mechanisms of action that produce steroid-like effects.

The lead program at Evolutec (LSE:EVC, Reading, U.K.) is rEV131, a small protein that dampens histamine activity. It does so by interfering with both the H1 and H4 histamine receptors, binding to ligands that interact with G protein-coupled receptors. "We believe that this is the only molecule that blocks the H4 receptor," CEO Mark Carnegie Brown told BioCentury. "To make a small molecule that impacts both receptors would be very difficult." Indeed, it is this double whammy that gives rEV131 its breadth of therapeutic potential...