Metrion Biosciences, a contract research organization (CRO) and drug discovery company, and LifeArc, a UK-based medical research charity, partnered in January 2019 to work on a small molecule neuroscience drug discovery program.
More specifically, the joint project aims to identify novel selective small molecule modulators of a specific ion channel target, which human patient gene association studies have identified as likely to be involved in neurological pathogenesis.
Under the initial agreement, LifeArc has responsibility for all new chemical syntheses, with Metrion conducting ion channel screening.
Moreover, Metrion has provided support for LifeArc’s medicinal chemistry target optimization via its suite of drug discovery assays, including automated and conventional electrophysiology, translational neuroscience, and cardiac safety profiling assays.
With the first year of collaboration almost complete, the companies agreed to extend their initial agreement for another 12-month period, after having seen ‘success’ in their research and ‘achievement of mutually agreed criteria’, according to Metrion.
As a result of this success during the initial phase, potent and efficacious hit compounds have been identified through a ‘robust’ screening cascade, with the collaboration now progressing into the ‘hit-to-lead’ optimization phase, Metrion announced.
Therefore, Metrion will continue to support target optimization by utilizing its capabilities in developing validated screening assays for use against specific neuronal ion channels, or in a range of translational phenotypic disease-relevant assays, to explore the potential treatments’ mechanism of action.