PlaqueTec & the Babraham Institute Collaborate on Early Phase Target Discovery & Development

PlaqueTec and the Welch research group at the Babraham Institute recently announced the successful completion of a collaboration to evaluate lead compounds predicted to bind a pro-inflammatory protein discovered by PlaqueTec in pilot studies. The project was funded by the UKRI-BBSRC Campus Innovation Award (CIA), via the Babraham Research Campus Collaboration Fund in October 2023.

PlaqueTec and the Welch research group, focused on research into cell signalling and led by Dr Heidi Welch, tested the pro-inflammatory protein in a human cell culture model, demonstrating its potential to be targeted by small molecule drugs—opening new opportunities for a precision medicine approach to heart disease. The target is now being evaluated as part of PlaqueTec’s ongoing BIOPATTERN trial and, if validated, further development will be pursued.

Dr. Simon Williams, General Manager, PlaqueTec, said “The successful completion of our latest collaboration with the Babraham Institute is an encouraging demonstration that new disease-specific targets identified by PlaqueTec have the potential to be modifiable by small molecule drugs. As we continue our BIOPATTERN trial, we are confident that our unique approach to endotyping CAD will pave the way for a new era of precision medicine for millions of patients with the disease.”

Dr. Heidi Welch, Associate Group Leader, Signalling Research Programme at the Babraham Institute, added “Our work is focused on the molecular mechanisms that control a specific family of proteins, particularly in inflammatory cells, and we are delighted to have leveraged this expertise in an early phase target discovery and development project with PlaqueTec for its recently discovered pro-inflammatory protein target. Following the success of this collaboration, we are excited to see this novel drug target undergo further evaluation in PlaqueTec’s BIOPATTERN trial.”

Derek Jones, Chief Executive of Babraham Research Campus, also added “The UKRI-BBSRC Campus Innovation Award was initiated last year to give individuals and companies on Campus access to a unique tranche of funding not available elsewhere. We are therefore delighted to see the success of the collaboration between PlaqueTec and the Welch research group to date and look forward to further updates once evaluation via PlaqueTec’s BIOPATTERN trial is concluded.”

In February 2022, PlaqueTec was awarded Innovate UK Business Growth funding to collaborate with Medicines Discovery Catapult to work on a pilot project aimed at identifying novel drug targets in CAD. Data obtained for this earlier project formed the basis for the current CIA-funded project to evaluate lead compounds against one of the targets identified.

PlaqueTec is pursuing a better understanding of the biological mechanisms of coronary artery disease (CAD) to advance the development of precision medicine. CAD, where atherosclerotic plaque build-up narrows or blocks the arteries that supply blood to the heart, is a leading cause of death globally. Current treatment approaches are one-size-fits-all and therefore ineffective for many patients. To address this, PlaqueTec has developed a proprietary technology and data analysis platform to endotype patients and uncover potential biomarkers of coronary vascular function and plaque progression. A more detailed understanding of patient endotypes will support drug development by identifying new targets in specific patient groups, reducing clinical trial sizes and costs, and increasing success rates, ultimately improving outcomes for patients. The company is based at the world-renowned Babraham Research Campus, Cambridge, UK. Follow PlaqueTec on LinkedIn @PlaqueTec Ltd. and Twitter @PlaqueTec_UK.

The Babraham Institute undertakes world-class life sciences research to generate new knowledge of biological mechanisms underpinning ageing, development and the maintenance of health. Our research focuses on cellular signalling, gene regulation and the impact of epigenetic regulation at different stages of life. By determining how the body reacts to dietary and environmental stimuli and manages microbial and viral interactions, we aim to improve wellbeing and support healthier ageing. The Institute is strategically funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), part of UK Research and Innovation, through Institute Strategic Programme Grants and an Institute Core Capability Grant and also receives funding from other UK research councils, charitable foundations, the EU and medical charities.

Babraham Research Campus Ltd is responsible for the management and commercial development of the Babraham Research Campus. Babraham Research Campus is distinct in its co-location of 60 bioscience companies with the Babraham Institute, a world-renowned research organisation which receives strategic funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). The aim of the Campus is to support UK bioscience through academic research, but also with facilities and capabilities for early-stage and growing commercial organisations. The Campus provides companies laboratory and office space, networking and collaboration opportunities, together with access to outstanding scientific facilities in an ideal geographical location at the core of the Cambridge cluster. For more information, visit