Since 2006 UK-based Epistem has received $3.5m (€2.5m) to develop models and evaluate drugs for treating radiation damage to the gastrointestinal tract. Now, Epistem has sealed a five year subcontract which it expects will extend and grow the scope of the collaborative relationship.
“This fresh contract covering five years will allow us to progress successful candidate drugs, in addition to developing models to assess treatments for the delayed effect of radiation damage", said Catherine Booth, managing director and co-founder of Epistem.
Inking the deal makes Epistem a subcontractor to the US National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Radiation/Nuclear Medical Countermeasure Product Development Support Services Contract. The NIH contract has been awarded to the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM).
Epistem will work as part of a research consortium comprising of radiology experts with specialist knowledge of how exposure affects different tissues. Within this consortium Epistem will provide gastrointestinal models to assess the efficacy and mode of action of drugs in the programme.
This builds on earlier work Epistem performed to refine drug screening methods, characterise the biology of radiation damage in the gastrointestinal tract and assess therapeutic candidates. Epistem is the only member of the consortium based outside North America.
Epistem also recently strengthened its presence in Japan through a deal with Veritas. Under the terns of the deal Veritas is exclusively marketing and distributing Epistem’s research services in Japan.
Veritas has a sales network in Japan, as well as scientific expertise, and will use this to help Epistem penetrate the market. Epistem has an established customer base in Western Europe and the US and is now looking to strengthen its presence in another key market.
“The Japanese drug development market provides us with an important opportunity for growth and the agreement with Veritas will allow us to develop closer links with existing Japanese customers”, said Matthew Walls, CEO of Epistem.