InhibOx Ltd - European Union supports €3m project to develop technology against a major therapeutically relevant enzyme family

01 Jul 2007

  • DeZnIT (Design of zinc metalloenzyme targeted drugs using an Integrated Technology approach) is a collaborative project between partners in Finland, Italy, The Netherlands, Latvia, Denmark and UK
  • DeZnIT will develop integrated technology for design of zinc metalloenzyme inhibitors, relevant to major diseases such as cancer, inflammation and obesity

Under the EU Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) for Research and Development 3.2 million Euros have been awarded to the DeZnIT research project. The main objectives of the DeZnIT program are to develop new drug design technology specifically focused on the family of zinc metalloenzymes and to use this technology to identify new candidate drugs. DeZnIT is a highly integrated, pan-European, research project conducted by a consortium of seven partners involving leading experts in computer-aided design, synthetic and medicinal chemistry, structural biology and the molecular biology of these enzymes.

The project is coordinated by InhibOx, a biotechnology company based in Oxford, UK.

Zinc is a biologically ubiquitous element and is known to be indispensable for growth and
development. It is present, and essential, in at least one enzyme of each of the six classes
established by the International Union of Biochemistry. DeZnIT will focus on therapeutically important zinc-containing enzymes such as carbonic anhydrases, histone deacetylases and ADAM/MMP.

Drug design against zinc enzymes is challenging because of specific problems
associated with interacting with the metal atom. By combining new theoretical and computational approaches to drug design with world-leading expertise in the biology
of these enzymes and the synthesis of inhibitors, DeZnIT aims to make a major
contribution to our understanding of these enzymes and enhance our ability to design potential candidate drugs.

The DeZnIT consortium
Four research groups and three SME companies join forces in the DeZnIT consortium. Each group contributes specific expertise that is required for this project.

  1. InhibOx Ltd, Dr. Paul W. Finn (Co-ordinator), UK
  2. TopoTarget A/S, Dr. James Ritchie, Denmark
  3. Key Drug Prototyping, Dr. Flip Hoedemaeker, The Netherlands
  4. Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis, Dr. Peteris Trapencieris, Latvia
  5. University of Tampere, Professor Seppo Parkkila, Finland
  6. University of Florence, Professor Andrea Scozzafava, Italy
  7. University of Oxford, Professor W. Graham Richards, UK

Further information
For more information please contact Dr. Paul Finn, InhibOx Ltd.
phone: +44 1865 811185, e-mail: