Domainex and Imperial College London have entered a new partnership to discover new therapies for treatment of myocardial infarction, also known as a heart attack.

The deal follows the success of Imperial in securing £3m in funding from the Wellcome Trust Seeding Drug Discovery programme to build upon the research of professor Michael Schneider, the British Heart Foundation Simon Marks Chair in Regenerative Cardiology.

Schneider group’s key research activities in Imperial’s National Heart and Lung Institute will include discovery of enzyme pathways activated by cardiac stress that result in the apoptosis of cardiac muscle cells.

The research award from the Wellcome Trust is based on the potential for using these findings to prevent cardiac muscle cell death following a heart attack.

"Our target is activated, invariably, in diseased human hearts, and its suppression already protects human heart muscle cells from dying in the laboratory."

Schneider said: "Our target is activated, invariably, in diseased human hearts, and its suppression already protects human heart muscle cells from dying in the laboratory.

"If we can succeed in taking this forward as a new therapy for myocardial infarction, this would have major benefits for patients, their families, and healthcare providers alike.

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"Based upon Domainex’s knowledge and approach to drug discovery, we anticipate a fruitful collaboration with them."

Under the deal, Domainex will provide services to Imperial such as biochemical and biophysical assay development, compound screening and medicinal chemistry to advance the project towards pre-clinical development.

The deal will also see Domainex undertake integrated lead identification and optimisation studies on the serine/threonine protein kinase enzyme target mitogen-activated protein kinase 4 (MAP4K4).

According to the Heart Research Institute report, there are more than 124,000 heart attacks in the UK each year.

As part of the deal, Domainex will seek to deliver candidate drug molecules meeting a series of defined criteria.