• We are catalysts for innovation, commercialising next-generation technologies developed by

    The University of Manchester’s world-class research base

    • £360m+ invested by venture funders

    • 40+ spin-out companies created

    • 7,500+ licences and IP partnerships concluded

    • 4,000+ invention disclosures received

    • £115m+ IP and R&D revenue generated for the University

  • We are catalysts for innovation, commercialising next-generation technologies developed by The University of Manchester’s world-class research base

    • £300m+ invested by venture funders since 2004

    • 40+ spin-out companies created

    • 4,800+

      licences and IP partnerships concluded

    • 3,700+ invention disclosures received

    • 1,300+ jobs generated across various industry sectors

    • £105m+ IP and R&D revenue generated for the University

Archive for September, 2015

C4X Discovery – Breakthrough compounds for diabetes and inflammation

23 September, 2015 – C4X Discovery Holdings plc (“C4XD”), a leader in rational drug discovery and design, is pleased to provide the following research update on recent key milestones in its programmes for Type 2 diabetes and inflammation, two areas of significant unmet medical need that represent large pharmaceutical markets.

Breakthrough approach

C4XD’s technology has enabled rapid progress across its programmes in recent months, providing further exciting proof-of-concept for our novel approach to drug discovery based on conformational design of solution structures. We have now met significant milestones in Type 2 diabetes and inflammation, adding to the earlier success with our Orexin-1 programme, and further demonstrating C4XD’s ability to rapidly and intelligently develop new medicines for areas of high, unmet need.

C4XD expects to progress both the Type 2 diabetes and inflammation programmes into in vivo proof-of-principle testing in the next few months.

Type 2 Diabetes: targeting GPR142

C4XD has identified novel lead molecules that activate GPR142, a key factor in the production of insulin. Targeting GPR142 may stimulate insulin production in a glucose-dependent manner, avoiding the hypoglycaemia risk associated with existing diabetes therapies. GPR142 has recently become the focus of considerable research and patent activity within the pharma industry.

Using its proprietary technology, C4XD has identified critical drug design principles, enabling us to generate potent, orally available compounds in just a few months.


C4XD has designed novel activators for the NRF-2 pathway, which is important in mediating diseases such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (“COPD”) and Multiple Sclerosis (“MS”). NRF-2 is the subject of considerable investment by the pharma industry; for example, it is the target for the MS drug Tecfidera®, which generated 2014 revenues of $2.9 billion.

Existing approaches activate NRF-2 in a non-specific and/or irreversible way with potential for toxic side effects. C4XD’s technology has enabled us to rationally design and generate selective, reversible NRF-2 activators that may offer improved safety and efficacy.


C4XD’s most advanced compound, an oral Orexin-1 antagonist for the treatment of addiction, is in formal pre-clinical safety and toxicity studies prior to initiation of clinical trials. We expect to file a Clinical Trial Application to enable human studies at the end of 2016.

C4XD expects to be in a position to announce further news regarding novel targets in the coming weeks.

“We continue to make outstanding progress with our proprietary programmes, which are focused on areas of high unmet medical need, with large target markets” said Piers Morgan, CEO. “Our technology enables us to design novel, selective, potent leads and drug candidates in a fraction of the time and cost compared to conventional methods.”


Prestigious Award Establishes New Graphene Start-up

Harari Daryl

A University of Manchester scientist has won a prestigious award for his business proposal to develop a range of graphene-based inks for printed electronics.

Daryl McManus, a PhD student at the University, is the recipient of this year’s Eli and Britt Harari Graphene Enterprise Award.

The £50k prize is designed to support the early stage implementation of a commercially-viable business proposal from students, post-docs and recent graduates of The University of Manchester based on the many and varied applications of graphene.

The prize money will be used to help found a new graphene start-up company based on producing graphene inks which have been a key area of interest for researchers. A compressed graphene ink RFID tag was recently unveiled by the University.

Daryl’s proposal to harness the superlative properties of graphene in developing graphene inks for printed applications impressed a panel of judges against twelve other entries.

New applications in printed electronics demand more concentrated inks that can be deposited in more consistent and environmentally friendly ways. Daryl’s proposed water-based inks provide an answer.

Daryl, 24, who is currently undertaking his PhD within the Graphene NOWNANO Doctoral Training Centre said: “Our environmentally friendly 2D material inks provide a cheap, scalable solution to the production of next generation flexible and transparent electronics.

“The Eli and Britt Harari award gives us the opportunity to take our unique inks from the laboratory to the marketplace where their properties can be exploited by both businesses and researchers to create a new generation of printed devices.”

The judging panel felt that Daryl’s was the most complete proposal, bringing together a compelling and viable business case supported by a credible application of graphene-based technology.

Professor Luke Georghiou, Vice-President Research and Innovation who led the judging panel commented; “The University is strongly committed to bringing the benefits of research to the economy and society.

“It is particularly pleasing when students get the opportunity to take their ideas into the market. This award provides a flying start for what I am sure will be a successful entrepreneurial career.”

Eli Harari, a University of Manchester alumnus and founder of SanDisk started the annual award three years ago to help create more graphene start-up companies. The award helps recognise the role that high-level, flexible early-stage financial support can play in the successful development of a business, targeting the full commercialisation of a product or technology related to research in graphene.

This year’s competition, which attracted 13 viable expressions of interest, was promoted and supported through the use of on-line resources, information sessions and business planning workshops involving the Manchester Enterprise Centre, UMI3 and last year’s winner, Dr Antonios Oikonomou.

With the recently opened National Graphene Institute providing world-class facilities and the high-profile conference Graphene Week 2015 attracting researchers from around the world to the University, it is expected that interest in this annual competition will grow substantially.

With the University’s ambition to create a Graphene City this award could provide a valuable leg-up for many innovative graphene start-ups to be based in Manchester.


C4X Discovery expands team

Expansion of Team with Strong Biology and Development Expertise

3 September 2015 – C4X Discovery Holdings plc (“C4XD” or “the Company”), a leader in rational drug discovery and design, today announced that it is further strengthening its team with two new management appointments.

Dr Craig Fox joins the Company as Head of Biology and a member of the Senior Management Team. Dr Fox is an experienced biologist having worked on and managed many drug discovery and development projects during the last 18 years, from initial target selection right through to investigating clinical efficacy and safety in Phase II patient studies.  Prior to joining C4XD, Dr Fox was Director of Respiratory Research at Pulmagen Therapeutics, a clinical stage company spun-out of Argenta in 2010. Dr Fox also managed several of Pulmagen’s collaborations and partnerships, including those with AstraZeneca, Chiesi, Domantis, Dr Reddy’s, Skyepharma and Teijin Pharma. Dr Fox was part of the Etiologics Team that merged with Argenta Discovery in 2004 and prior to this he worked for Bayer as a Research Scientist.

Dr Clare Murray joins the Company as Project Manager. Dr Murray spent 23 years with AstraZeneca, where she was most recently Associate Director, Bioscience, within the Emerging Innovations Unit. Whilst at AstraZeneca, Dr Murray led biology, pharmacology and clinical development teams up to Phase II across a range of therapeutic areas including respiratory, inflammation, dermatitis and oncology. Dr Murray has spent the last year at The University of Manchester’s Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences with responsibility for managing a portfolio of translational research projects.

“We are delighted to have further strengthened our management team with the addition of these two highly experienced development professionals and qualified biologists,” said Piers Morgan, CEO of C4XD. “Craig and Clare are highly respected, with solid track records of successfully progressing programmes into early stage clinical development in man, and bring a wealth of deep and relevant experience to support the continued development and value enhancement of our pipeline of programmes.”