July 2011

Science Focus on industry members

Juan Manuel Domínguez 

Manager, Drug Discovery Department, Noscira 
Tres Cantos, Spain 

While visitors to Madrid can surround themselves with a culture rich in art, history and architecture, they also can find some newly emerging science culture if they look in the right spots. One such place is found some 10 miles outside the city, in secluded Tres Cantos – the headquarters of Noscira.

One of many small, independent biotech companies springing up in Spain, Noscira is a reflection of Spain’s new scientific ambitions.

“Spain does not have a long tradition of venture-fueled biotech companies,” notes Juan Manuel Domínguez, who heads Noscira’s drug discovery department, “so companies like ours have trouble securing financing. Investors aren’t used to supporting an enterprise that, even if highly successful, won’t bear fruit for many years.”

But if some of the early biotech startups like Noscira, founded back in 2000, can achieve their goals, that can build confidence for future companies.

And as of now, Noscira, which uses natural marine products to identify new therapeutic drugs for Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases, is on track to provide a boost of that confidence. It’s currently exploring the potential benefit of a compound called tideglusib in phase II clinical trials for both Alzheimer’s and progressive supranuclear palsy.

It’s a tremendous feeling for Domínguez, who joined Noscira in 2008. “Compared to a large company, working at Noscira (with only around 60 full time employees) offers everyone a true sense of ownership in the whole drug discovery and development process.”

Domínguez understands the contrast quite well, having spent 16 years working at GlaxoSmithKline before his move to Noscira (a very short move, as GSK happens to have a drug discovery center in the same town as Noscira).

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