RxCelerate acquires Methuselah Health – launches “world-beating” proteomics service

Next-gen proteomics tech made available to the biotech and pharmaceutical industry through the acquisition of Methuselah by leading R&D services provider, RxCelerate.

RxCelerate, an international out-sourced drug discovery and development platform, has announced the acquisition of Cambridge-based drug discovery company Methuselah Health UK Ltd for an undisclosed sum.

Longevity.Technology: Proteins are susceptible to damage, such as oxidation, and this can alter the function of the protein over time, sometimes on a very subtle level. Methuselah Health, which was founded in 2015, believes that a process called tertiary structural memory, whereby new, undamaged proteins adopt an existing altered conformation induced by proteome instability is the same process that underlies aging.

By unpicking the role proteome instability plays in aging and disease, Methuselah hopes to gain a unique insight into the pathogenesis of diseases such as autoimmunity and neurodegeneration and to discover drugs for age-related diseases that driven by proteomic instability; to this end, it has developed what it claims is the world’s most powerful proteomics platform to power its discovery efforts – ProQuant. Will the focus on aging continue now Methuselah has been snapped up by RxCelerate? We certainly hope so!

“Until now, the ProQuant™ proteomics technology has only been available for the internal discovery programs at Methuselah Health,” said Jill Reckless, CEO at RxCelerate. “But as soon as we saw just how powerful this technology was, we had to add it to our service offering. Through this acquisition, the proprietary ProQuant platform will be exclusively available to our clients, giving them access to the best proteomics technology available anywhere.”

The development of ProQuant was led by David Mosedale, Chief Technical Officer at Methuselah Health since its foundation in 2015.

“Proteomics has been an important tool in drug discovery for decades, but existing methods typically focus on the number of proteins identified at the expense of quantitative accuracy. ProQuant is a step-change in quantitative accuracy for bottom-up LC-MS-MS-based proteomics, which enables a whole range of applications that are difficult or impossible with existing technology. For example, ProQuant can better quantify post-translational modifications, including proteolytic cleavages, in complex protein mixtures, which opens up a new domain for target identification and validation, biomarker discovery and reaction monitoring.”

ProQuant aims to moves the goalposts for proteomics through proprietary improvements in both the analytical and bioinformatic domains.

“The key development,” says Mosedale, “was identifying a way to assess quantitative accuracy across the whole proteome simultaneously, even without knowing the true concentration of any of the components. That allowed us to optimize the methodology beyond anything that has been possible before.”

ProQuant has numerous applications across the drug discovery and development domains; it turbo-charges chemoproteomics during discovery of covalent binders (including protacs), allows the accumulation of post-translational modifications on biologic drugs to be accurately monitored during manufacture, storage and, most importantly, after administration in vivo, and delivers accurate quantitation of protein labelling.

“Unfortunately, many drug developers do not realise the extent to which the poor quantitative accuracy of traditional proteomics has limited its usefulness. ProQuant really is a game-changer,” explains Mosedale.

“Over the last several years, we have acquired or developed a unique toolkit of cutting-edge technologies to improve drug discovery and development,” said Nick Tait, Chief Financial Officer at RxCelerate. “Galaxy™, our platform to discover better monoclonal antibody drugs at RxBiologics, and RxNfinity™, our dynamic chemical space to improve small molecule discovery, deliver best-in-class capabilities to our clients. With the acquisition of Methuselah Health and its ProQuant™ proteomics technology, we have taken another step towards our vision of making the best technologies out there available to everyone.”

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Photograph: Mikrostroker/Vectorstock