Cloud Pharmaceuticals Announces Design of Active Pro-Drug for Treatment of Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis

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Scientists at Cloud Pharmaceuticals, the University of Florida, and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev have collaborated on the design of an active drug for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis (Inflammatory Bowel Diseases; IBD). Results of the collaboration are to be published in Volume 16 of Current Topics in Medicinal Chemistry.

Together, Cloud Pharmaceuticals, UF, and Ben-Gurion University devised a new way to design pro-drugs.

Cloud Pharmaceuticals Inc., a cloud-based drug design and development company, today announced the design of an active pro-drug for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis (Inflammatory Bowel Diseases; IBD). This design is the result of collaboration among scientists at Cloud Pharmaceuticals, the University of Florida (UF), and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU).

Phospholipid A2 (PLA2) is a membrane protein that is associated with intracellular trafficking. Studies have shown that PLA2 activity in severely inflamed mucosa of IBD patients is significantly higher than in normal colonic mucosa, and PLA2 may be exploited as a drug-activating enzyme, allowing drug targeting to the site(s) of gut inflammation.

Together, Cloud Pharmaceuticals, UF, and Ben-Gurion University devised a new way to design pro-drugs using free-energy perturbations to accurately predict the activation of phospholipid-drug conjugates by PLA2. Results of the collaboration have been accepted for publication in Current Topics in Medicinal Chemistry, 2016. In the manuscript, the calculated activity correlated with indomethacin-phospholipid conjugate in vitro experimental data. Based on calculations, novel designs of another PL-pro-drug set have been synthesized and show activity as predicted.

Dr. Shahar Keinan, Cloud Pharmaceuticals CSO, said: "We are very excited for developing and implementing this new computational capability, adding the development of pro-drugs to our current offering. This capability improves the speed and lowers the cost of designing novel drugs that are acutely needed to help patients with inflammatory bowel disease."

About University of Florida Health

University of Florida Health has two main campuses in Gainesville and Jacksonville. It includes two teaching hospitals and two specialty hospitals, as well as the colleges of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Public Health and Health Professions, and Veterinary Medicine, including both a large animal hospital and a small animal hospital. UF Health is the only academic health center in the United States with six health-related colleges located on a single, contiguous campus.

Patient-care services are provided through the private, not-for-profit UF Health Shands family of hospitals and programs. UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville includes UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital and UF Health Shands Cancer Hospital. The specialty hospitals, UF Health Shands Rehab Hospital, and UF Health Shands Psychiatric Hospital, are also located in Gainesville. UF Health Jacksonville is the system’s northeast Florida center.

Dr. Ellen Zimmermann, Professor of Medicine and senior author on the recent manuscript, and Dr. Aaron Aponick in the Department of Chemistry spearheaded the UF team. This project was funded, in part, by the Gatorade Trust. For information visit

About Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Faculty of Health Sciences

Arik Dahan, PhD, Associate Professor of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics in the Department of Clinical Pharmacology and School of Pharmacy performed foundational work and was lead author on the recent manuscript in Current Topics in Medicinal Chemistry. The Faculty of BGU Health Sciences was founded in 1974 with the aim of revolutionizing primary care medicine in Israel through community involvement and the integration of medical education with medical care. This vision has developed into the reality of today's Faculty – a remarkable, interlocking network of research, teaching, and health-care institutions that has redefined compassionate health care. For information visit

About Cloud Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Cloud Pharmaceuticals is committed to improving health and well-being through the computational design and rapid development of new therapies. Its proprietary Quantum Molecular Design process combines artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud computing to search virtual molecular space and applies along sophisticated molecular modeling to design novel drugs. The process enables faster drug development progress at lower cost and a higher success rate and better targeting of hard-to-drug indications. The company partners at all stages of drug development – from discovery through the clinic – and is building an extensive product pipeline that spans a wide range of indications. For information visit

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Carol Long
since: 06/2014
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