NRG Therapeutics, a neuroscience firm, has been presented with the Biomedical Catalyst award. The £2.68 million package will be used to advance the pre-clinical development of the company’s innovative small molecule disease-modifying medicines for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, motor neuron disease (MND), and other debilitating neurodegenerative diseases.
The funding, which is partially sponsored by the government-backed body Innovate UK, will cover a 24-month study that will begin this month. NRG uses cutting-edge mitochondrial biology to provide first-in-class treatments. Its strategy is focused on blocking the mitochondrial permeability transition hole in brain cells, which has been shown to be effective in numerous Parkinson’s and MND preclinical models.
Mitochondria are the ‘batteries’ of cells that keep them running, but a growing body of research suggests that mitochondrial breakdown is widespread in many degenerative disorders. NRG’s experimental novel medications have been shown to suppress brain cell death in vitro. If the experiment is successful, it will be the first disease-modifying drug to stop or decrease the advancement of Parkinson’s disease in people who are presently solely treated for symptoms.
What has limited the drug companies from exploring mPTP inhibitors as novel therapeutic treatments to date has been the poor central nervous system insertion of known mPTP inhibitors, said Director- Research at Parkinson’s UK as well as a board member of NRG Therapeutics, Dr. Arthur Roach.
The micro compounds developed by NRG are the first orally available and CNS-permeable inhibitors of mPTP. He added that they are delighted to assist NRG in translating its exciting discoveries into innovative pharmacological treatments that have the potential to enhance the lives of people living with Parkinson’s disease.
The funding from Innovate UK comes after generous donations from Parkinson’s Virtual Biotech, Parkinson’s UK’s drug development arm, and also The Michael J. Fox Foundation. Parkinson’s disease affects around six million people worldwide and is the fastest growing neurologic ailment.