NRG Therapeutics and Domainex to collaborate on discovery of small molecules to treat Parkinson’s or motor neurone disease
NRG Therapeutics has selected Domainex to collaborate on its work developing novel small molecular medicines to treat chronic neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s and motor neurone disease.
It follows the award of a £2.68million early-stage Biomedical Catalyst award from the government agency Innovate UK to Cambridge-based neuroscience company NRG Therapeutics, which also expects to invest more than £1m in the project.
Domainex, which has bases at Chesterford Research Park and Pampisford, will provide lead optimisation services, including assay biology and medicinal and computational chemistry over a one-year period.
“We are thrilled to have been selected by NRG Therapeutics to work on this exciting project,” said Domainex CEO Tom Mander. “We hope that this programme will result in a new treatment for neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s, which will ultimately benefit patients who desperately need new treatment options for these devasting diseases.”
NRG Therapeutics is focused on mitochondrial dysfunction and previously identified a number of small molecules lead series that inhibit mPTP (mitochondrial permeability transition pore). This transmembrane protein is found in the mitochondrial inner membrane, which is critical for cell signalling and regulated cell death.
Encouragingly, inhibition of mPTP in brain cells has been shown to be neuroprotective in several preclinical models of Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.
The work was funded by Parkinson’s Virtual Biotech, the drug development arm of Parkinson’s UK.
Dr Neil Miller, co-founder and CEO of NRG Therapeutics, said: “Mitochondrial dysfunction is a common underlying pathology in many degenerative diseases and there is a substantial body of preclinical data available which demonstrates that inhibition of the mPTP in the brain prevents neuronal cell death, reduces neuroinflammation and extends survival in animals. We look forward to working with Domainex to progress the development of these compounds into potentially life-changing medicines.”
Together, the companies will carry out an integrated lead optimisation programme to optimise the pharmaceutical properties of these small-molecule mPTP inhibitors, with the aim of nominating a pre-clinical candidate for the treatment of Parkinson’s or motor neuron disease (MND).
Domainex has worked on a number of projects funded by Innovate UK, such as a project targeting IKKƐ/TBK1 for the treatment of inflammatory disease. It also received Innovate UK funding to develop its PoLiPa technology.