Domainex will expand its two-year-old collaboration with Imperial College London to discover new therapies that reduce coronary heart muscle damage during heart attacks, the partners stated today.

Domainex and Imperial aim to find a treatment that inhibits the enzyme MAP4K4, which is associated with cell death following heart attacks. Since the collaboration premiered in 2015, the partners said, they have discovered new, potent, and selective MAP4K4 inhibitors using human heart muscle grown from human induced pluripotent stem tissue (iPSCs).

The inhibitors have shown promise within protecting these cells against oxidative stress, a cause for cell death during heart attacks, Domainex plus Imperial said.

As a result of the progress, Imperial College London said, its Professor Michael Schneider, Ph level. D., has secured a follow-on award of £ 4. 5 million (nearly $5. 8 million) in the Wellcome Trust’ s Seeding Drug Discovery initiative to keep the research.

From its Medicines Research Centre close to Cambridge, U. K., Domainex said, its researchers can continue to provide integrated drug discovery services— including additional biochemical, cellular and biophysical assay screening, and structure-guided medicinal chemistry coupled with drug metabolism, safety, and pharmacokinetic assessment of promising candidates.

Domainex plus Imperial said they aim to advance potential treatments in to preclinical development and ultimately to clinical evaluation.

“We have already identified a number of very exciting, new inhibitors through structure-based drug design, ” Domainex CSO Trevor Perrior said in a statement. “ The revolutionary cardiac muscle assay developed by the team here at Domainex working in partnership with Imperial College London, is allowing early testing on human cardiac muscle cells, which can make cardiac drug discovery more efficient and effective in determining efficacious candidate drugs. ”