NRG Therapeutics Ltd (“NRG” or “company”), an innovative neuroscience company targeting mitochondrial dysfunction, is pleased to announced that it has been awarded a $500,000 grant from The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF), to support its lead drug discovery programme and the development of a novel treatment for Parkinson’s.
NRG Therapeutics is applying breakthrough science in the field of mitochondrial biology to develop first-in-class treatments for Parkinson’s. 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 other neurodegenerative diseases.
The grant will fund experiments using a state-of-the-art chemoproteomic platform to identify the molecular target(s) of NRG’s lead drug candidate, which was discovered via phenotypic screening.
NRG Therapeutics’ co-founder and CEO Dr Neil Miller said, “We are passionate about finding new treatments that offer hope and could change the lives of millions with neurodegenerative diseases. There is a significant unmet medical need as all current treatments for Parkinson’s control symptoms but do not halt or slow progression of disease. We are delighted to have received funding from MJFF to help us advance our understanding of the molecular target for our mPTP inhibitors. Despite recent successes, truly disease-modifying treatments for Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases remain the holy grail.”
Classical ‘first-generation’ inhibitors of mPTP, such as cyclosporin A, inhibit cyclophilin D (CypD), a protein that is believed to regulate the pore. However, all historical attempts to develop CypD inhibitors that can cross the blood-brain barrier have been unsuccessful. NRG has discovered novel ‘second-generation’ mPTP inhibitors that are small drug-like molecules, orally bioavailable and CNS-penetrant, and therefore have the potential for use in the treatment of chronic neurodegenerative disorders. NRG’s lead assets were identified through phenotypic screening in isolated mitochondria and have been shown to act independently of CypD.
“Our mission is to support development of life-changing treatments for people with Parkinson’s disease, and we are pleased to provide funding for this project toward that goal,” said Marco Baptista, PhD, MJFF Vice President of Research Programs.
Backed by seed equity investment from Parkinson’s UK via the Parkinson’s Virtual Biotech, NRG will seek to secure a Series A funding to advance its assets through IND-enabling studies and into the clinic.
Details of the MJFF funded programme entitled ‘Novel Inhibitors of Cell Death for the Treatment of People with Parkinson’s Disease’ can be found here.