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 email@example.com
About NRG Therapeutics – http://www.nrgtherapeutics.com
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.
About Innovate UK - https://www.ukri.org/about-us/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.