The majority of new medicinal compounds developed for the treatment of cancer fail during the course of their development and pharmaceutical companies have moved in recent years to broadening the modalities and the range of sources from which potential compounds can be identified. As a result of this, there is opportunity for small biotech companies to develop leads for eventual sale to or partnering with pharmaceutical companies. This is particularly the case for novel drug discovery modalities or for biological targets that have proved untreatable by conventional drug discovery methodologies. One such area is the deployment of alkaloid molecules.

SwaLife Biotech is formed based on the five novel bioactive alkaloids discovered from plants. The focus is to do synthesis and semi synthesis of discovered compounds and look for activity in skin and breast cancer targeting the inhibition of proteins or enzyme involved in DNA damage response (DDR), hallmarks of cancer disease. Using our novel methodology, we have isolated alkaloids from plant material. Chemical characterisations have shown that the five isolated compounds identified so far are novel. In vitro experiments have shown their anti-cancerous activity in breast and skin cancer cells. A target-specific experiment showed that novel alkaloids have inhibited DDR in breast and skin cancer. As our product has activity against DNA damage repair pathway, it is more likely to prevent from emergence of drug resistance strain and provide no escape route for cancer survival

Scientific Advisory Body


  • => Dr Ian Kill: Brunel University
  • => Dr Joanna Bridger: Brunel University
  • => Dr Svetlana Ignatova: Brunel University
  • => Prof. Juliette Legler: Brunel University

Business Advisory Body


  • => Andrew Foxley: Senior Director Scientific Project Management, AstraZeneca
  • => Bil Lio: SOSV investment Partner