Holburn currently has a number of different products under development as part of its internal research program.
Diagnostic Pathology products
Holburn is in the process of developing a number of different supplies for use in pathology and histology laboratories. These include: novel stable reagents for use in both manual and automated histological methods; raising novel antibodies for use in research and diagnostic pathology laboratories; designing novel probes to allow the identification of new drug targets; and generating control blocks for use in both manual and automated histological methods.
Theragnostics is an emerging market that encompasses the process of screening patients for a particular biomolecular marker. This marker can then be used to determine the likelihood of successful treatment with a particular therapeutic compound. Holburn currently has a pending patent for one such theragnostic test. This may enable clinicians to recognize patients with irritable bowel syndrome that are most likely to respond to therapeutic serotonergic compounds currently available for treatment.
The primary target of Holburn’s drug development program is the mast cell. The mast cell is a key component of the mucosa of the gastrointestinal tract and other peripheral tissues. Mast cells function as immune cells, primarily involved in triggering responses to inflammation. Recent work has indicated that mast cells also function as sensory transducers that are in close association with peripheral sensory nerves. The number of mast cells which are closely associated with nerves is increased following inflammation and is directly correlated with pain frequency and severity in irritable bowel syndrome. Some drugs currently on the market for the treatment of allergic conditions such as rhinitis and conjunctivitis are known to be effective through stabilizing mast cells. Initial studies by Holburn have shown that these ‘mast cell stabilizers’ have side effects that may compromise their clinical efficacy in conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome. Holburn is in the early stages of developing a number of therapeutic compounds that are selective mast cell stabilizers.