News & Views

  • Leading Charity Backs Early Stage Drug Development for Parkinson’s
    Arthur Roach
  • Vicky Steadman
  • Martin Slater

Leading Charity Backs Early Stage Drug Development for Parkinson’s

Mar 21 2018 Read 568 Times

A new collaboration focused on finding a new drug candidate to combat Parkinson’s , announced in the UK on March 8, has been formed by leading charity Parkinson’s UK, contract innovation and research organisation, Selcia (part of Eurofins) and computational chemistry software and services provider, Cresset Discovery Services. The research is centred on creating novel molecules that could stop or slow the progression of the condition.

By modulating gene transcription, the collaboration aims to create molecules that increase the activity of a selection of genes which have the potential to both increase dopamine synthesis to ease symptoms, while boosting the production of proteins which have neuroprotective effects. Parkinson’s UK is set to fund the £1.2million project, which will take place over 12 months.

This collaboration represents an expansion of Parkinson’s UK’s Virtual Biotech programme of work, which allows the charity to provide leadership and critical funding to early drug development in partnership with a range of other organisations that have the facilities and staff to carry out scientific work on a contract basis.

Dr Arthur Roach, Director of Research at Parkinson’s UK, said: “It’s fantastic to be working in partnership with these organisations, which have an exceptional range of skill and expertise in drug discovery. We’re also very excited to be working to identify a novel candidate that will not only be dopaminergic but also neuroprotective. Should initial studies go well, we could be looking at a new drug that has the potential to help millions of people with Parkinson’s across the world.”

Dr Vicky Steadman, Director of Discovery at Selcia, commented: “We are delighted that our proposal to Parkinson’s UK translated into the initiation of a collaboration that could lead to novel treatments for people with Parkinson’s. Selcia has an enviable track record in delivering pre-clinical candidates from lead optimization projects, and considerable expertise in designing drug candidates that cross the blood-brain barrier.”

Dr Martin Slater, Director, Cresset Discovery Services, said: “The combined strengths of the collaborating partners enables us to efficiently address the very difficult challenge of finding new medicines for this neurodegenerative condition. Cresset Discovery Services will provide unique cutting edge molecular modelling capability, our extensive AI capabilities and in silicoexpertise, to aid in the discovery of the most appropriate starting points for this program."

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