Our Story

In 2019 the academic team at the University of Glasgow published validation of PfCLK3 as a target with breakthrough potential in the treatment of malaria. Successful drug development would provide a single medicine that is curative, transmission blocking and prophylactic.

KELTICPharma Therapeutics was established to pursue targeting PfCLK3 using the transformative PEP-SMOL Drug Discovery Platform invented by the KELTICPharma Therapeutics Founders.

In addition to discovering novel hit matter in our malaria program the PEP-SMOL platform is being deployed by KELTICPharma Therapeutics to generate hit matter against ‘hard to target’ receptors with high clinical value.

The academic team based at the University of Glasgow together with the Business Team in Dublin have the combined innovation, deep target knowledge and corporate drug discovery expertise to deliver new receptor-based medicines and a novel anti-malarial treatment.

Our Vision

Cure Malaria

  • Deliver first-in-class anti-malarial clinical candidate.
  • Curative, transmission-blocking prophylactic.

Develop PEP-SMOL

  • Finalise development of PEP-SMOL discovery platform.
  • Validate the platform against “hard to target” receptors.

Deploy PEP-SMOL

  • Use PEP-SMOL to target high value receptors.
  • Progress PEP-SMOL hits to clinical candidates.

Our Expertise

Generating next generation anti-malarials.

KELTICPharma Therapeutics founders have extensive experience in the malaria field particularly in the biochemical processes that are essential for parasite survival.

By identification of essential pathways the founders have established that a particular protein kinase called PfCLK3, when inhibited can not only kill the blood stage of the malaria parasite but also kill liver stage and prevent development through the sexual stages. In this way inhibitors to PfCLK3 can offer a cure, prophylaxis and a block of transmission.

The molecular parasitology and chemistry expertise with KELTICPharma Therapeutics and our collaborators are now pursing inhibition of PfCLK3 in a drug discovery program aimed at generating next generation anti-malarials.

Generating Receptor-Based Medicines

The Founders of KELTICPharma Therapeutics have decades of research experience in a class of cell surface receptor called G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs). This class of receptor are the worlds most successful drug targets. However despite this success the full potential of GPCRs as drug target has yet to be fully released.

A subclass of GPCRs have been classified as ‘hard to target’ due to the ligand binding pocket being shallow and poorly defined.

KELTICPharma Therapeutics a founders have invented a novel drug discovery platform called PEP-SMOL that is specifically designed to generate small drug-like molecule hits against shallow binding pockets.

By deploying PEP-SMOL KELTICPharma Therapeutics will pursue drug discovery programs against high value GPCR targets that previously have been considered either ‘hard to target’ or even ‘un-druggable’.

Our Team

Prof. Andrew Tobin

Founder

  • Professor of Molecular Pharmacology and at the University of Glasgow
  • Director of the Advance Research Centre University of Glasgow
  • Leader in malaria biology and target validation.
  • Discoverer of PfCLK3 as a target in malaria – lead author of Science (2019) article validating PfCLK3
  • Developer of unique genetic approaches to defining the therapeutic potential of protein kinases in malaria.
  • International reputation in the GPCR field – inventor of unique genetic approaches to GPCR target validation
  • Field leader in defining role of muscarinic receptors in neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disease
  • Currently holder of ~ EURO10M in research grants in the GPCR and malaria

Dr. Andrew Jamieson

Founder

  • Reader in Chemical Biology at the University of Glasgow.
  • Sixteen years experience of peptide chemical biology and medicinal chemistry.
  • Inventor of the PEP-SMOL discovery platform.
  • Holder of grants from the EPSRC, BBSRC, MRC and DSTL.
  • Obtained a 1st Class degree in Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry (placement with James Black Foundation) and Ph.D from the University
    of Glasgow.

Dr. Elaine Sullivan

Founder

  • Business leader and senior scientist with over 25 years’ experience in pharmaceutical industry.
  • CEO and Co-Founder of Curadh Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Ireland
  • Non-executive Director of the investment company IP Group plc (UK)
  • Supervisory board member of Evotec AG (Germany).
  • Co-founder and previous CEO of Carrick Therapeutics (raised largest Series A in Europe – $95m)
  • 2018 winner of Biotech & Money’s UK Private Finance Raise of the Year & Ernst Young’s Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year.
  • Held VP roles in the most senior R&D management teams in Lilly (US) and AstraZeneca (UK).
  • Past member of the Investment Committees of Lilly Ventures, Lilly Asian Ventures
  • Delivered > 250 collaborations and transactions including spin-outs, joint ventures and strategic partnerships

Prof. Graeme Milligan

Founder

  • Holder of the Gardiner Chair in Biochemistry at the University of Glasgow
  • Field leading expert of the molecular pharmacology of GPCRs with >550 publications in the field (h-index >91, >32,000 citations).
  • Currently holder of ~EURO10M in research grants in the GPCR field
  • Recipient of the Ariens Award for Pharmacology and the Vane Medal for Pharmacology
  • Thompson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher.
  • Extensive experience working with industry (e.g. AZ, GSK, Servier)
  • Licensed platform technologies developed in his group to Arena Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ ARNA), Cara Therapeutics (NASDAQ CARA).
  • Co-founder and Director of the privately held Caldan Therapeutics.

Ms Bonnie Dean

GU Holdings Ltd.

  • GU Holdings Ltd (GUHL) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the University of Glasgow.
  • GUHL manages the University’s portfolio of equity held in spin-out ventures.
  • Bonnie Dean is Vice Principal (Corporate Engagement & Innovation) at the University of Glasgow.
  • Bonnie is Chair of GU Holdings and nominee Director to the KELTICPharma Therapeutics board.
  • Background in corporate and economic development.
  • Developed the first phase of the Bristol & Bath Science Park.
  • Worked for several decades in the advanced engineering sector for US research-led multinationals.
  • Council member of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.
  • Deputy Chair of Catalyst, Inc, the Northern Ireland science park.
  • On the advisory boards of the Engine Shed and the Faculty of Business and Law at University of the West of England in Bristol.
  • Chair of the EEF’s Economic Policy Committee and Chair of Brandon Trust, a charity which cares for the learning disabled.

Contact

KELTIC Pharma Therapeutics Ltd
27 Upper Pembroke Street
Dublin 2
Ireland