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Alchemab Therapeutics awarded £1.7m from Innovate UK to develop Huntington’s disease therapy towards human trials

Alchemab Therapeutics has been awarded a £1.7million grant from Innovate UK to accelerate its development of a first-in-class therapy for Huntington’s disease.

The Babraham Research Campus-based biotechnology company is working with the Medicines Discovery Catapult (MDC) on preclinical studies of its panel of antibodies as it takes them towards human studies.

Jane Osbourn, co-founder and CSO of Alchemab Therapeutics. Picture: Keith Heppell
Jane Osbourn, co-founder and CSO of Alchemab Therapeutics. Picture: Keith Heppell

Alchemab CEO Young Kwon said: “Our aim is to develop antibodies as therapies to transform the treatment of Huntington’s Disease by slowing or stopping the course of neurodegeneration. This latest funding from Innovate UK will enable us to accelerate development of our antibody and deliver some hope for patients.”

The company aims to understand the unique features of the antibody response in resilient individuals in order to develop therapies based on naturally-derived antibodies to prevalent, hard-to-treat diseases that impact millions of people but for which limited therapeutic options exist.

It used its own platform to discover the panel of antibodies, which it is hopeful will lead to a disease-modifying therapy for Huntington’s, a devastating neurodegenerative disorder for which there is currently no cure or treatment to slow or stop the progress of the disease. Existing treatments only help to manage the symptoms.

The Alchemab platform combines data mining of patient-derived immune responses with multi-disciplinary drug discovery approaches.

Jane Osbourn, co-founder and chief scientific officer at Alchemab, said: “Alchemab’s platform flips drug discovery on its head: we start with patient response and let it guide us to the most important targets and therapeutics.

“I’m excited that our novel approach has led us to this potential first-in-class antibody and target. We hope that this important program is one of many, opening up a new front in our ability to combat hard-to-treat diseases such as neurodegeneration and cancers.”

Alchemab and MDC - a not-for-profit organisation that is part of the Catapult Network established by Innovate UK - were awarded the funding from Innovate UK’s Biomedical Catalyst 2022 funding competition. This industry-led research and development competition aims to support UK businesses developing innovative health or healthcare-focused products, technologies and processes.

It is the second grant awarded to Alchemab and MDC. and will support preclinical development of the lead antibody, with the aiming of demonstrating its safety and efficacy, and the potential for manufacture ahead of in-human trials and later development.

Dr Martin Main, chief scientist at MDC, said: “MDC exists to help companies like Alchemab develop innovative medicines that have the potential to change patient outcomes. We are very pleased to have secured the additional funding to continue working on this important project.

“By combining MDC’s expertise in pre-clinical imaging and biomarkers with Alchemab’s innovative antibody discovery platform, we hope to uncover much-needed treatment options for people living with Huntington’s disease.”

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