Degussa Food Ingredients and biopharmaceutical company Thuris yesterday announced a collaboration aimed at determining sites of action for certain brain active compounds in order to select the most effective compounds for future use in foodstuffs or supplements.
Under the agreement Thuris, an integrated biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of neurogerontological and neuroprotective drugs, will test compounds from Degussa Food Ingredients in proprietary BrainPrint and behavioural assays. Specific terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
"Degussa Food Ingredients runs a considerable business in the area of bioactives for dietary supplements and functional foods," said Hans-Ullrich Hoppe, vice president of research, Degussa Food Ingredients. "An important product line in our portfolio consists of products to improve mental fitness and stability. Efficacy and mode of action are the most important descriptors for bioactive compounds. We use that information to select the best candidates out of our pool of lead compounds."
Keith B. Hoffman, chief operating officer of Thuris, commented: "Degussa Food Ingredients has compounds and extracts that hold promise as central nervous system bioactives. Thuris intends to determine site- and mechanism-of-action of their compounds via proprietary anatomical and behavioural analysis."
He continued: "If the results are encouraging the two companies intend to unite Degussa Food Ingredients' advanced capabilities in the nutraceutical field with the full suite of Thuris development technologies. Such a collaboration could span multiple central nervous system applications, ranging from weight control to sexual dysfunction."
Thuris' BrainPrint technology is described as a proprietary technology for evaluating where brain therapeutics act in the living rodent. The technique is said to allow for activity mapping down to the level of individual neurons. As such the methods can assist drug selection and development by demonstrating sites of action of compounds - and thereby suggest mechanism of action, enabling new-use and/or dosing patents, identifying active metabolites and identifying commonalities and differences between analogous compounds.
Meanwhile, Thuris' behavioural assays include proprietary measures via a computerised and closely controlled system. The technology is designed to offer objective measures of animal behaviour in response to centrally-active compounds, and has been shown to differentiate closely-related compounds across drug classes.
Thuris says it currently has other drug development projects in negotiation but is actively seeking additional partnerships.
Degussa Food Ingredients is a business unit of Degussa, Germany's third-largest chemical company and the world market leader in speciality chemicals. In fiscal 2002 the corporation reported operating profits (EBIT) of more than €900 million.