With our collaborators at the Monell Chemical Senses Center focused on human taste bud epithelial cells (hTBECs) and their utility in taste modulator screening and profiling assays, legacy DBM and Monell are screening small molecule collections and libraries on these unique and novel hTBEC platforms to discover bitter taste antagonists that mask the bitter taste of generic and newly developed BioPharmaceutical drugs as well as bitter food ingredients. Gates Foundation funding and a Phase 1 STTR award supported foundational work. We applied and received Phase 2 STTR funding to support a 100,000 compound MTS campaign. We have already discovered 4 purified phytochemicals that were validated bitter taste antagonist in DBM’s work and that also validated as a bitter receptor antagonist in Monell experiments and as a partial ‘masker’ of bitter taste in human taste behavior testing at the Monell.
Other bitter blocker candidates have been or are being discovered actively and are being validated in in vitro assays of specific TAS2R bitter receptors and in vivo using human sensory testing in the human mouth in Monell’s “sip and spit” assays. Monell also has taste modulator assets. AeroNeph Tx and Monell are discussing forming a new holding company to hold, own and continue to develop taste modulator assets for option and license with interested parties such as BioPharmaceutical companies with a “bitter medicine problem” or food, beverage, flavor, and ingredient manufacturers with a “bitter ingredient” problem.