German CRO Evotec and the Harvard Stem Cell Institute have partnered to discover compounds that might prevent or slow ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) and other motor-neuron diseases.
The partnership will use two Harvard labs’ ALS patient-derived motor neuron models that allow screening of diseased human cells in culture.
Evotec will perform the screenings for “new mechanisms, targets and compounds that have the potential to be developed into new products that will modify and ideally halt the progression of ALS and potentially other motor neuron diseases,” Evotec spokeswoman Gabriele Hansen told us.
Hansen said the partnership will last “several years to fully explore the target.”
This is the fourth collaboration between Evotec and Harvard scientists, Hansen said. The first two involved research on diabetes and targeting beta cell mass and function, and to discover and develop new biomarkers and treatments for kidney disease. The diabetes research evolved into a partnership with Janssen.
Under the fourth agreement announced in May, researchers at Harvard and Evotec will identify and optimise small molecule inhibitors of bacterial cell wall synthesis based on enabling technologies and chemical starting points licensed from Harvard, Hansen added.