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In this paper, authors from Hypha and Incyte Corporation discuss the impact and application of biotransformation of drugs by mammalian systems, microorganisms, and recombinant enzymes, covering active and reactive metabolites, the impact of the gut microbiome on metabolism, and how insights gained from biotransformation studies can influence drug design.

In Chapter 4 of the book on “Identification and quantification of drugs, metabolites, drug metabolizing enzymes and transporters”, Hypha authors summarise the different methods employed for producing metabolites of drugs, illustrated with representative examples from the literature and work undertaken at Hypha. The chapter also includes a discussion and examples of the use of NMR spectroscopy for structure elucidation of metabolites.

Leishmaniasis is a Neglected Tropical Disease caused by the insect-vector borne protozoan parasite, Leishmania species. Infection affects millions of the World’s poorest, however vaccines are absent and drug therapy limited. Recently, public-private partnerships have developed to identify new modes of controlling leishmaniasis. Most of these collaborative efforts have relied upon the small molecule synthetic compound libraries held by industry, but the number of New Chemical Entities (NCE) identified and entering development as antileishmanials has been very low. In light of this, here we describe a public-private effort to identify natural products with activity against Leishmania mexicana, a causative agent of cutaneous leishmanaisis (CL).

According to the World Health Organization, more than 1 billion people are at risk of or are affected by neglected tropical diseases. Examples of such diseases include trypanosomiasis, which causes sleeping sickness; leishmaniasis; and Chagas disease, all of which are prevalent in Africa, South America, and India. Our aim within the New Medicines for Trypanosomatidic Infections project was to use (1) synthetic and natural product libraries, (2) screening, and (3) a preclinical absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion–toxicity (ADME-Tox) profiling platform to identify compounds that can enter the trypanosomatidic drug discovery value chain.

As part of an international research project, the marine fungal strain collection of the Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research (GEOMAR) research centre was analysed for secondary metabolite profiles associated with anticancer activity. Strain MF458 was identified as Tolypocladium geodes, by internal transcribed spacer region (ITS) sequence similarity and its natural product production profile.

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