3 February 2022
Parkinson’s UK, the largest charitable funder of Parkinson’s research in Europe, and Domainex Ltd., today announce a collaboration focused on developing small molecule therapies targeting neuroinflammation that could slow the progression of Parkinson’s. Domainex, a leading integrated medicines research services partner, will provide fully integrated drug discovery services including assay biology, medicinal and computational chemistry. The collaboration is anticipated to be undertaken over a two-and-a-half-year period, with Parkinson’s UK investing up to £3 million in the project via its drug development arm - the Parkinson’s Virtual Biotech. The innovative programme is plugging the funding gap to fast-track the projects with the greatest scientific potential to transform the lives of people with Parkinson’s.
Inflammation is vital for defending the body from infections, injuries and toxins. However, in Parkinson’s there is excessive chronic inflammation within the brain. It is now believed that this may play a role in the damage to brain cells which occurs in the condition. Previous work carried out by Parkinson’s UK has led to the identification of novel small molecules which target a protein found on the surface of microglia, the main immune cells in the brain that become overactive in Parkinson’s. Domainex will conduct integrated drug discovery in order to optimise the pharmaceutical properties of these molecules with the ultimate aim of nominating a clinical candidate. The goal is to develop a therapy with the potential to slow or stop the progression of Parkinson’s, something no current medication can do.
“We are thrilled to have been selected by Parkinson’s UK to work on this promising project which has the potential to improve the lives of 145,000 people living with Parkinson’s in the UK,” said Tom Mander, CEO of Domainex. “Domainex has built up significant expertise of working with several charities and patient foundations, including projects funded by the British Heart Foundation, CHDI Foundation and the Wellcome Trust, where we have utilised our extensive knowledge to add significant value. We look forward to working with the team at Parkinson’s UK and supporting the wider Parkinson’s community to progress the development of potentially life-changing medicines. Having studied microglial cells during my DPhil and spent a good part of my early industrial career working on macrophage activation, I am especially interested to see whether a new therapy emerges from our partnership.”
Dr Richard Morphy, Drug Discovery Manager at Parkinson’s UK, said: “Domainex was selected following an extensive review process on the basis of their experience and capability to execute a fully integrated drug discovery project, including the development of neuroinflammation assays and the optimisation of our compounds’ target engagement in the brain. We’re delighted to work with Domainex and our other project partners to find compounds that can mitigate the damaging microglial over-activation in Parkinson’s. The Parkinson’s Virtual Biotech is driven by the experiences and most pressing needs of the Parkinson's community. We’re excited to work with Domainex over the course of the project to engage and involve people living with the condition in this important work.”
49-year-old Nick Pace from Hertfordshire was diagnosed with young onset Parkinson’s in 2019. Nick recently took part in a clinical study which explores repurposing an asthma drug for Parkinson’s in the hope that it could improve his memory and thought processes. He understands the importance of getting involved in research for Parkinson’s that could lead to new treatments.
“For people like me, research means the world. It’s our hope. Every day I wake up and every day there isn’t a cure or a treatment that can slow or stop things getting worse. Pioneering projects like this one could change that. That’s why I will do whatever I can to support research that could transform my life. If it misses my generation, it could be the next generation that benefits. It is vitally important we continue to fund, support and take part in Parkinson’s research.”
For more information, contact:
Dr Tom Mander, CEO
Deborah Cockerill / Juliette Craggs / Darya Shulakova
T: +44 (0)20 3405 7892
Notes to editors
About Domainex Ltd.
Domainex is a leading, multi-award-winning, integrated medicines research service partner working with ambitious life science organizations from around the globe. The Company has been setting new standards in research since 2001, working collaboratively with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, patient foundations and leading academic institutions globally.
Domainex provides innovative and customized biology and chemistry services to advance the disease research projects of its partners, from target expression to pre-clinical development candidate nomination. Working with Domainex maximizes the chance of successful progression for its partners’ research. Domainex’s innovative science and extensive technical capabilities enable it to produce novel candidate medicines to treat debilitating diseases. The team works closely and collaboratively with its partners to understand their aspirations, bringing ideas, know-how and a wealth of experience to bear on their projects.
Domainex’s highly qualified and experienced team of dedicated research scientists has an unrivalled breadth of knowledge, access to a wide range of technologies and a proven track record of successful innovation in solving research challenges, including being named on over 60 patent applications of numerous candidate drugs. The Company aims to deliver successful outcomes efficiently and quickly, setting the highest possible benchmark in medicines research.
Full information about Domainex and its award-winning services can be found at www.domainex.co.uk.
About Parkinson’s and Parkinson’s UK Parkinson’s is what happens when the brain cells that make dopamine start to die. There are more than 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.
Parkinson’s is the fastest growing neurological condition in the world. Around 145,000 people in the UK have Parkinson’s.
For more facts and statistics, please click here.
Further information, advice and support is available on our website, www.parkinsons.org.uk.
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 bridge 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.
To find out more, visit https://www.parkinsonsvirtualbiotech.co.uk/