Domainex, Parkinson’s UK team up to advance neuroinflammation program

By Nick Taylor

- Last updated on GMT

(koto_feja/iStock via Getty Images Plus)
(koto_feja/iStock via Getty Images Plus)

Related tags: Parkinson's disease, preclinical, preclinical development, CNS, Nervous system, Uk

The institute and the research/support organization will collaborate on development of novel therapies aimed at treating the central nervous system disorder.

Parkinson’s UK has tapped service provider Domainex to support the development of small molecules against a target implicated in neuroinflammation.

The 2.5-year project builds on earlier work by the nonprofit Parkinson’s UK that led to the identification of small molecules against a protein on the surface of immune brain cells implicated in Parkinson’s disease. Having identified the molecules, Parkinson’s UK has turned to Domainex for help optimizing them

Domainex’s medicinal and computational chemists will be assessing available biological data to design and synthesize novel compounds with the aim of identifying molecules with improved pharmaceutical properties. Our biologists will then perform a set of in vitro biological assays to measure the effects of new compounds for such properties as potency, selectivity, physicochemical, and stability​,” said a Domainex spokesperson.

Parkinson’s UK plans to invest up to £3m ($4m USD) in the molecules over the course of the project in the belief they may tackle the excessive chronic inflammation that is thought to damage the brain cells of patients with the disease. The nonprofit is investing in the molecules through its drug development arm.

By enlisting the support of Domainex, and providing cash through an initiative aimed at a perceived gap in the funding environment, Parkinson’s UK is aiming to nominate a clinical candidate that is optimized for further development. Part of Domainex’s brief is to design molecules that get across the blood-brain barrier.

Domainex has a history of working with charities and patient foundations, as well as with pharma and biotech companies. Charities and patient foundations typically need a different level of support.

Such groups come to us as typically they do not have the established expertise in-house to undertake integrated drug discovery projects. This type of client is therefore placing its trust in us to deploy our know-how to discover new drug candidates. That said, Parkinson’s UK is a bit different in that it has a number of staff who are seasoned industry experts who oversee programs of discovery research with groups like Domainex​,” said a Domainex spokesperson.

With Parkinson’s UK employing industry experts and some biotechs going virtual, Domainex sees the source of funding as the main difference between working with for-profit and nonprofit organizations.

Funding from charities and patient foundations tends to be of a more long-term, strategic nature rather than being subject to potential follow-on rounds of investor financing to keep projects moving forward​,” said the Domainex spokesperson.

Domainex disclosed the Parkinson’s UK partnership days before releasing details of its new facility in Cambridge, UK. As part of its move to the 7,000-square-foot facility, Domainex plans to increase its headcount by up to 50% by the end of the year.

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