NRG Therapeutics Announces £2.68M Innovate UK Award to Develop New Medicines

  • £2.68 million Biomedical Catalyst (BMC) early-stage award funded in part by Innovate UK to support development of disease-modifying medicines for debilitating chronic neurodegenerative disorders

  • NRG has a pipeline of brain-penetrant small molecule inhibitors of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore (mPTP) with potential as first-in-class treatments for Parkinson's disease (PD) and motor neuron disease (MND)

Cambridge, UK, 30 May 2022 – NRG Therapeutics Ltd (“NRG” or “company”), an innovative

neuroscience company targeting mitochondrial dysfunction, is pleased to announce that it has

received a highly competitive Biomedical Catalyst (BMC) award to fund pre-clinical development of

its novel small molecule disease-modifying medicines for the treatment of Parkinson's disease,

motor neuron disease (MND) and other debilitating chronic neurodegenerative disorders.

The £2.68 million early-stage BMC award part-funded by the government-backed agency Innovate

UK will support a 24-month project, commencing this month.

NRG is applying groundbreaking science in the field of mitochondrial biology to develop first-in-

class treatments for Parkinson’s, MND (also known as ALS) and, potentially, other

neurodegenerative disorders. Its approach is based on inhibiting the mitochondrial permeability

transition pore (mPTP) in brain cells which has been shown to be neuroprotective in several

preclinical models of Parkinson’s and MND.

Mitochondria are the powerhouses or batteries of cells and therefore essential for maintaining cell

health but there is now a substantial body of evidence showing that mitochondrial failure or

dysfunction is common across many degenerative diseases. NRG's investigational new drugs have

been shown in vitro to protect mitochondria and prevent the death of brain cells and therefore

have the potential to halt or significantly slow the progression of disease in individuals with

Parkinson’s or MND.

NRG is an innovative private UK company founded by pharma-experienced biotech entrepreneurs

with in-depth knowledge in neuroscience R&D. It has received seed equity funding from the

Parkinson’s Virtual Biotech, the drug development arm of Parkinson’s UK and grant funding from

The Michael J. Fox Foundation and now, Innovate UK.

Dr Arthur Roach, Director of Research at Parkinson's UK and a Board member of NRG

Therapeutics, said, “What has limited the pharmaceutical industry to date from exploring mPTP

inhibitors as novel therapeutic treatments, has been the poor central nervous system (CNS)

penetration of known mPTP inhibitors. NRG’s small molecules are the first orally bioavailable and

CNS-penetrant inhibitors of the mPTP. We are pleased to support NRG in developing its promising

discoveries into new drug treatments that could transform the lives of people with Parkinson’s.”

If successful, the project would deliver the first disease-modifying medicine to halt or slow disease

progression for people with Parkinson’s who are currently treated through management of disease

symptoms only. PD affects ~6 million individuals and is the fastest-growing neurological disorder in

the world, and so a major healthcare challenge for society.

In addition, NRG is targeting a novel pathological mechanism in MND that was identified in 2020 by

its collaborators in Australia. MND is a devastating neurodegenerative disease that typically leads

to death within 3-5 years of diagnosis and for which the current gold-standard treatment extends

life by ~3 months only.

NRG Therapeutics’ co-founder and CEO Dr Neil Miller 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. With our unique

discoveries, NRG is in a leadership position in this field to develop first-in-class CNS-penetrant mPTP


The BMC award (of which NRG contributes 30% of the funding) will, over 24 months, advance

NRG's proprietary mPTP inhibitors from lead optimisation through to completion of IND-enabling

GLP-toxicology studies with its lead asset. Specifically, it will generate a preclinical data package

that demonstrates NRG’s drug candidates penetrate into the brain, protect mitochondria, prevent

brain cell death in animal models and are safe & well tolerated following chronic dosing. It follows

an earlier award to NRG of an Innovate UK EDGE grant which provided invaluable scientific and

commercial insights for NRG’s MND programme.


Media enquiries (for NRG Therapeutics)

Sue Charles, Charles Consultants - +44 7968 726585

About NRG Therapeutics –

NRG Therapeutics is a neuroscience drug discovery company building a pipeline of disease

modifying drug candidates, focused on therapeutic approaches that will restore mitochondrial

function and slow or halt the progression of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s,

Alzheimer’s and MND, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) as it is also known. 

The company’s pre-clinical pipeline of small molecule assets is based on inhibiting the

mitochondrial permeability transition pore. Inhibition of the mPTP has been shown to protect

neurons, reduce neuroinflammation and extend survival in pre-clinical disease models.

Based in Cambridge, UK, NRG Therapeutics is a private company with equity investment from the

Parkinson’s Virtual Biotech, the drug development arm of Parkinson’s UK, and grant funding from

Innovate UK and charitable organisations including The Michael J. Fox Foundation.

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About Innovate UK -

Innovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a

grant-in-aid from the UK government. We drive productivity and economic growth by supporting

businesses to develop and realise the potential of new ideas, including those from the UK’s world-

class research base.  

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