Trana Discovery has announced the development of a high throughput screening (HTS) assay for the identification of new compounds for the treatment of HIV. The HTS assay was developed in collaboration with Southern Research Institute, a research organization that conducts basic and applied preclinical drug research.
According to Trana, this assay gives pharmaceutical companies the ability to screen vast libraries of compounds in order to identify those that interrupt the lifecycle of HIV through a novel mechanism of action -- the inhibition of transfer RNA (tRNA). This technology has the potential to discover new classes of medicines for the treatment of HIV that may overcome resistance mechanisms associated with current therapies.
There remains an unexploited target for antiretroviral drugs -- the disruption of human transfer RNA (tRNA) use by the virus during HIV replication. But until recently, several barriers, including the stability of the RNA-RNA binding during experimentation, had prevented exploration of tRNA as a drug target. Working in collaboration with Southern Research, Trana Discovery refined their technology to overcome those barriers in a HTS format, thus opening the way to discovery and development of HIV drugs that work by means of this novel mechanism of action.
At the High Throughput Screening Center at Southern Research, the Trana Discovery RNA assay was adapted to the robotics platform. The HTS assay will allow researchers conduct millions of tests that identify active compounds. Using this newly validated assay, the HTS Center at Southern Research can screen 50,000 compounds per day.
"We consider the HIV HTS assay as a major breakthrough in the development of new techniques in the early-stage drug discovery and development process," said David Harris, director of Drug Discovery Business Development at Southern Research. "The addition of the tRNA assay platform adds to our service offerings that lead to the improvement of people's lives around the world."
Trana Discovery and Southern Research are currently developing other HTS assays to identity compounds that interrupt the lifecycle of bacteria, such as E.coli and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
"The development of the HTS assay validates that our technology can be adapted to the automated platforms used for high throughput screening, and signals a major step forward in its advancement," said Steve Peterson, CEO of Trana Discovery. The patented technology has been under extensive development at North Carolina State University. "We are now ready for the commercialization and licensing of this technology to discover new classes of compounds that will inhibit HIV via a unique mechanism of action," said Peterson.