Designing a molecule for longevity

From machine learning to virtual reality, Cyclarity is leveraging the key tools in the fight against atherosclerosis.

Cyclarity Therapeutics is targeting atherosclerosis and hoping to do something about cardiovascular disease’s ranking as the world’s number one killer by reducing incidences of heart attack and stroke through a simple and affordable preventive therapy.

The company’s platform uses rationally-designed cyclodextrin molecules that remove arterial plaque by clearing the non-degradable oxidised cholesterol that accumulates within cells in the arterial walls.

Longevity.Technology: We wanted to find out more about how these molecules were designed, so we sat down with Head of Scientific Computing & Co-Founder Amelia Anderson to find out more about how it all works. Plus she let us road-test her VR program!

Amelia Anderson on…

Cyclodextrins inspiration

The idea for engineering cyclodextrins came from our computational modeling. We knew that actually engineering and synthesizing our idea would be expensive, so I tried to model it in the computer first. It looked really good, so then we had a good reason to synthesize it, and it worked!

Since working at Cyclarity, my knowledge of molecular dynamics and how to simulate cyclodextrins with various methods has increased, and the idea of the platform is to expand this computational pathway to be able to simulate encapsulation of various other molecules using our engineered cyclodextrins.

Being specific

The first step was to have a target, which was 7KC [7-Ketocholesterol] and an off-target, which was cholesterol. We wanted to ensure we had specificity for our target, and once we were able to show that we had that, not only in the lab, but in the computer, we can expand those methods to achieve specificity for other targets. You can do a lot of different chemical modifications to cyclodextrins and go after a lot of ‘molecular garbage’ which builds up as you age. Ideally, in the future, we want to use machine learning and AI algorithms to help us come up with this ideas and help us expand what we go after.

The iterative process of testing things in the computer, looking at them in the lab, and relating all of these concepts to each other, means they are always improving each other – I can always improve my algorithm and our targets can always be improved on the bench

Looking from a different angle

Our development pathway includes virtual reality – and it’s a lot of fun right now and shows off what we are able to do. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in the world of chemistry, but it also helps people to relate to what we are doing.

Read our in-depth report on atherosclerosis and Cyclarity’s ground-breaking platform – CLICK HERE!

READ MORE: Constructively disruptive – tackling atherosclerosis through disease reversal