Parkinson's UK has invested an additional £1 million in NRG Therapeutics Ltd’s mitochondrial drug development programme. This funding boost, on top of an initial £1 million investment, will support the development of a breakthrough drug with the potential to slow or halt the progression of Parkinson’s - something no known treatment can currently do.
Initiated in July 2019, NRG Therapeutics’ research has already made significant progress towards the identification of novel, small molecules that may enter the brain and stop mitochondrial permeability transition pores from opening within dopamine-producing cells. These molecules hold significant potential for developing drugs that can protect the brain cells lost in Parkinson’s.
In the next stage of the project, Parkinson’s UK and NRG Therapeutics Ltd. will work together to develop these molecules further. If successful, the molecules will be tested in pre-clinical models of Parkinson's before progressing into small-scale human clinical trials to investigate their safety and potential benefits as a treatment.
The funding boost has come via Parkinson’s UK’s pioneering Parkinson's Virtual Biotech, which plugs the funding gap in drug development by fast-tracking projects with the greatest scientific potential. While pharmaceutical companies are ready to fund large-scale trails, the middle stage - developing promising research into plausible drug treatments - can stall due to a lack of funding.
Dr Arthur Roach, Director of Research at Parkinson's UK, said:
"It’s extremely encouraging to see the progress we’ve made in the first year of work with NRG Therapeutics Ltd., which is why we’re pleased to be able to invest in this project further.
“In this crucial next phase of the project, we aim to improve the ability of these molecules to enter the brain and to investigate their effects in brain cells in the lab. This will take us one step closer to developing a drug that could go forward to be tested in people with Parkinson’s.
“Despite the current challenges with the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve relentlessly persisted with many research projects, like this one, aimed at creating life-changing treatments. With 145,000 people living with Parkinson’s in the UK and the charity on the brink of so many potential breakthroughs, we cannot afford to slow down now.“
Dr Neil Miller, CEO of NRG Therapeutics, said:
"We are delighted to receive an additional £1 million investment from the Parkinson’s Virtual Biotech to support our ongoing research efforts. We have established a very close relationship with Parkinson’s UK and look forward to building on that foundation as we move ahead.
“Our Research and Development team has made tremendous progress over the last 12 months and I am delighted with the quality of science we and our selected partners have generated to date. There is significant excitement in targeting mitochondrial dysfunction to treat neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s and we aim to be one of the leaders in this emerging field of medicine.”
Parkinson’s UK has their own in-house experts and partners with clinical and academic institutions, pharmaceutical companies and biotechs worldwide. To partner with Parkinson’s UK to drive forward potential new treatments, visit https://www.parkinsonsvirtualbiotech.co.uk/
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About Parkinson’s UK
Anyone can get Parkinson’s, young or old. Every hour, two more people are diagnosed.
Parkinson’s is what happens when the brain cells that make dopamine start to die. There are over 40 symptoms, from tremor and pain to anxiety. Some are treatable, but the drugs can have serious side effects. It gets worse over time and there’s no cure. Yet.
But we know we’re close to major breakthroughs. By funding the right research into the most promising treatments, we get closer to a cure every day.
Until then, we're here for everyone affected by Parkinson’s. Fighting for fair treatment and better services. Making everyone see its real impact.
We are Parkinson's UK. Powered by people. Funded by you. Together we'll find a cure.
Advice, information and support, is available via our website, www.parkinsons.org.uk, or our free, confidential helpline on 0808 800 0303.
About The Parkinson’s Virtual Biotech
People with Parkinson’s urgently need new treatments. But right now, there’s a huge gap in drug development. The Parkinson’s Virtual Biotech exists to plug that critical funding shortage.
It takes the most promising research and partners with institutions and pharmaceutical companies worldwide to develop the findings into plausible drug treatments. Currently there are projects at the discovery, preclinical and early clinical development stages.
With no large teams of scientists or expensive labs to run, the Parkinson’s Virtual Biotech ensures that every penny of the annual £4m investment goes on what matters most: fast tracking the projects with the greatest potential to transform the lives of people with Parkinson’s.
No one else is doing this. It’s a bold risk. But we believe it will deliver a groundbreaking new treatment by 2024. Because people with Parkinson’s won’t wait. Together, we’ll find a cure.