Mitochondria-focused biotech receives funding for neurodegenerative conditions

By Ben Hargreaves

- Last updated on GMT

Mitochondria.   Image © CIPhotos / Getty Images
Mitochondria. Image © CIPhotos / Getty Images

Related tags: mitochondria, neurodegenerative diseases, Parkinson's disease, ALS

NRG Therapeutics receives an injection of capital to advance its oral medicines for Parkinson's disease and ALS.

The UK-based biotech raised the £16m (€18m) in funds through a Series A financing round, led by Omega Funds, alongside Brandon Capital and Parkinson’s Virtual Biotech.

NRG Therapeutics is working in the area of mitochondrial biology to develop disease-modifying therapeutics to slow or halt the progression of various neurodegenerative disorders.  The biotech stated that the finacing will be used to advance select preclinical candidates through to investigational new drug (IND)-enabling studies.

During in vitro ​studies, the biotech stated that its treatment candidates protect mitochondria and increase the viability of human cells.

NRG outlined that there is evidence demonstrating mitochondrial failure or dysfunction as being common across many degenerative diseases. Inhibition of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore (mPTP) has been shown to protect neurons, reduce neuroinflammation, and extend survival in preclinical disease models, the biotech stated.

This could potentially prevent or delay disease progression for people with Parkinson’s or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). A treatment brought through this pathway would represent a breakthrough in Parkinson’s, as current treatments only provide management of symptoms.

Claudio Nessi, MD of Omega Funds said, “We are impressed by the potential of NRG’s small molecules as orally-bioavailable and brain-penetrant treatments and look forward to working with the team to move the programs through IND-enabling studies. If successful, the company’s mitochondrial therapeutics could transform the lives of patients suffering from Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.”

As part of the announcement, the biotech also announced that Seth Masters, a professor responsible for identifying a novel pathological mechanism in ALS targeted by NRG’s pipeline, would be joining the management team. As a result, a sponsored team will join NRG from Masters’ laboratory in Melbourne, Australia.

Back in the UK, NRG stated it had expanded its UK R&D and operational base with a recent move to the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst.

The biotech outlined that its plan moving forward is to progress its small molecule assets through to the completion of GLP toxicology to the point of IND-submission, in the anticipation of clinical development and commercialization being achieved alongside ‘global pharma partners’.

In an announcement earlier in the year, NRG revealed it had received funding of £2.68m from the UK’s Biomedical Catalyst early-stage award fund. At the time, the biotech stated that it would use the funding to generate a preclinical data package demonstrating that its drug candidates penetrate into the brain, protect mitochondria, prevent brain cell deaths in animals, as well as being safe and well tolerated following chronic dosing.

Related topics: Clinical Development

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