Canadian drug development company Ecopia BioSciences on Monday announced that it had filed patent applications for the first two novel compounds using its proprietary drug discovery platform - suggesting investments by the company in 2002 to accelerate the drug discover process are paying off. The two compounds - an anti-fungal agent and an anti-cancer agent - were discovered using its genome scanning technology, the company added in a statement this week. According to Ecopia the potential anti-fungal agent, ECO-02301, has shown activity against a broad spectrum of pathogenic yeasts including strains resistant to currently used anti-fungal drugs. Ecopia added that preliminary data suggests ECO-04601 is selectively active against certain human tumour cell lines in vitro. ECO-04601, the anticancer agent, includes a structural feature called a farnesyl group. Farnesyl groups are known as post-translational modifiers required for activation of many cellular proteins, including the Ras oncogene. The company is in the process of defining more extensive activity profiles for the two compounds. Dr. Pierre Falardeau, president and CEO said: "The discovery of these two initial compounds validates our platform and launches Ecopia into the next stage of its development. Both compounds have interesting features that qualify them for further study as potential drugs. However, the significance of these discoveries is not restricted to their pharmaceutical potential. We have now shown that our drug-discovery platform works and we can expect more compounds this year and for many years to come. These are very exciting times at Ecopia," he added. Ecopia is applying its genome scanning technology to a family of bacteria known as the actinomycetes - a major source of drugs to the pharmaceutical industry. According to Ecopia the objective is to discover antibacterial, antifungal and anticancer agents that could not be found using traditional discovery techniques and to develop them.