4SC Discovery GmbH and its partner CRELUX GmbH have successfully completed the first stage of a collaboration with the RỌScue Therapeutics working group at the Munich-based Helmholtz Zentrum München in the field of research and drug discovery of new compounds for treatment of degenerative diseases. The second stage of the project has been started now.
The work is being performed as part of the BEYOND RESEARCH initiative and is funded by the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Helmholtz Zentrum München. This is expected to lay the foundations for a possible later spin-off of RỌScue Therapeutics.
The BEYOND RESEARCH initiative formed by the biotech companies 4SC Discovery GmbH and CRELUX GmbH, the start-up consultancy firm Prefound GmbH and the transMedChem consulting firm will provide technology and expertise for translating biomedical science from academic institutions into commercially exploitable pharmaceutical products in the Munich area.
Within the scope of the collaboration, several compounds will be analyzed and optimized with the objective of generating a pharmaceutical development candidate that can subsequently be developed further into an effective therapy for degenerative diseases.
The compounds studied inhibit certain signalling pathways in cells which are triggered by the release of free oxygen radicals and can lead to tissue damage in patients. Based on the research by Helmholtz scientists, corresponding compounds were enhanced in the first stage of the project and their effectiveness demonstrated in disease-related animal models. In the second stage of the project, the pharmacological properties of the compounds will now be investigated and optimized further.
In the BEYOND RESEARCH initiative, 4SC Discovery GmbH and CRELUX GmbH are using their joint i2c (idea to candidate) technology platform to translate the scientific idea for a new therapy discovered at Helmholtz Zentrum München into a validated therapeutic drug candidate that can subsequently undergo formal preclinical and clinical pharmaceutical development. The RỌScue team is also being assisted by transMedChem, a medical and chemical consulting firm, and by Prefound GmbH, a Munich-based company that provides business consulting to founders of start-up companies.
Dr Marcus Conrad, Helmholtz Zentrum München, commented: "We welcome the opportunity to collaborate with the BEYOND RESEARCH initiative and would like to thank the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Helmholtz Zentrum München for financing this drug discovery project. The finding that reactive oxygen radicals trigger new signalling pathways of regulated necrosis, which are ultimately responsible for organ and tissue damage in many diseases, paves the way for the research and development of new compounds to inhibit these harmful signalling pathways. The RỌScue Therapeutics working group at Helmholtz Zentrum München has established a high-throughput screening platform for this and identified new drug candidates that will now be developed further in cooperation with BEYOND RESEARCH."
Dr. Daniel Vitt, Managing Director of 4SC Discovery GmbH and Chief Scientific Officer at 4SC AG, said: "We are delighted to continue our successful collaboration with Helmholtz Zentrum München. The discovery by the team of researchers headed by Marcus Conrad of how to inhibit cell death triggered by the release of oxygen radicals is fascinating. Together with our technology partner CRELUX we will use our knowledge in early-stage pharmaceutical research so that in the future this innovative idea can be turned into a pharmaceutically relevant therapy for the treatment of degenerative diseases in particular. Our thanks go to the Bavarian state government, which in supporting this collaboration is sending a clear signal that the Munich area is a strong biotechnology centre."
Dr Michael Schaeffer, Managing Director for Strategy and Business Development at CRELUX GmbH, added: "We initiated BEYOND RESEARCH because we saw that in the Munich area there is a big gap between first-rate academic research and its market readiness in accordance with industrial standards. As an initiative originating from the corporate environment, BEYOND RESEARCH is perfectly positioned to close this gap, and we would like to thank the Bavarian state government for its strategic vision in supporting this pioneering cooperation model."
Olivia Fedunik, Managing Director of Prefound GmbH: "We are pleased to have laid the foundations with BEYOND RESEARCH for the ability to transform ideas from basic research into realistic drug candidates faster and more efficiently. Important milestones in a candidate's pharmaceutical development will be supported from the outset by the experienced biotech companies 4SC Discovery and CRELUX, while we at Prefound will add our contribution so that this exciting commercialization idea can hit the ground running at a business level."