Research and Technology
Drug discovery projects
Modulation of TrkB
Development of innovative antimicrobial therapies for S. aureus and S. Typhimurium
Confirmation of immune target and development of drug modulators for autoimmune diseases, transplantation and T cell leukemia
New entity for Melanoma
Validation and development of a new chemical entity for Melanoma
The high-throughput and affordability of current omics technologies, allowing quantitative measurements of many putative targets has exponentially increased the volume of available data. Omics technologies offer an unprecedented ability to screen biological samples at the gene, transcript, protein, metabolite and their interaction network level.
Taking advantage of a Portuguese gastric cohort with several paired-samples (primary, metastasis, normal and blood) and detailed clinical information, we are performing genome, transcriptome and metabolomic profilling. By combining histopathology and multiomics profiles of these human tumor samples, we will unveil distinct molecular alterations between early stage primary tumor that progress and not progress to metastatic disease.
The emergence of antibiotic-resistant isolates of Salmonella Typhimurium and Staphylococcus aureus contribute to the high mortality and morbidity rates. Screening and downstream validation experiments will lead to the identification of actionable host targets that, once inhibited, significantly decrease the ability of S. Typhimurium and/or S. aureus to infect macrophages. This will enable the development of unique antimicrobial therapies targeting the host rather than the pathogens, a strategy particularly relevant in the context of increasing antimicrobial resistance.
One of the biggest challenges of neurosciences’ research is obtaining appropriate patient samples due to the difficulties in reaching the brain with no damage. In this project, we are performing an analysis of secreted proteins and a targeted quantification of these proteins and metabolites in plasma samples from Parkinson’s Disease patients. The overall goal is the discovery of new biomarkers and targets in accessible samples.
The platform of cardiac organoids will be used to perform pre-clinical studies for toxicology assays, by evaluating the functional and structural toxicity of drugs.
This kidney organoid will be used to model acute kidney injury, characterized by a rapid and reversible decline in renal function, to study the impact of drugs on renal function.
The goal of this project is to investigate whether human brain organoids can be used not just as faithful disease models but suitable to test the effects of candidate drugs for Rett Syndrome, in particular.
Advanced in vitro systems
Cell-based assays are a crucial element of the drug discovery process. Compared to cost-intensive animal models, assays using cultured cells are simple, fast and cost-effective as well as versatile and easily reproducible. Thus, cell culture technologies that more closely resemble genuine cell environments are now being pursued with intensity as they are expected to accommodate better precision and improve the success rates of drug discovery.
Innovative Therapeutic Modalities
Many advances in biotechnology are offering completely new opportunities to design therapeutics for disease mechanisms previously considered difficult, if not impossible, to target. Small molecules remain the most common modality used for medicines but they cannot be effectively applied to all biological targets and in all disease settings. As such, the fundamental structure of drugs has evolved to include a much wider array of options that allow the unlocking of “undruggable” targets.
Antibody-Drug Conjugates (ADC)
ADCs are highly targeted biopharmaceutical drugs that combine monoclonal antibodies that selectively bind to surface antigens present on specific cells with highly potent therapeutic agents linked via a chemical linker. Linker chemistries have a crucial role in ADC performance. We are developing a new class of bioconjugating linkers which will allow the development of ADCs with improved in vivo targeting properties.