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Keapstone Therapeutics and Sygnature Discovery collaborate to discover new therapies for Parkinson’s and Motor Neuron Disease

Keapstone Therapeutics, a new biotech company formed by the University of Sheffield and Parkinson’s UK to develop new drugs for Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases, and Sygnature Discovery, the UK’s largest independent provider of integrated drug discovery resource and expertise, today announced they will collaborate to discover new treatments for Parkinson’s and Motor Neuron Disease (MND).

Keapstone Therapeutics will build on pioneering research undertaken at the Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience (SITraN) and an international collaboration with the European Lead Factory, during which Dr Richard Mead of SITraN discovered novel small molecules which prevent the interaction between two proteins known as Kelch-like ECH-associated protein-1 (KEAP1) and Nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 (Nrf2) to increase the survival of neurons in both Parkinson’s and MND.  In close collaboration with Sygnature Discovery, Keapstone Therapeutics will now further optimise these molecules to afford drug candidates with the potential to slow or even prevent the progression of these neurodegenerative diseases.

Dr Richard Mead of Keapstone Therapeutics said: “We are very excited about this new partnership with Parkinson’s UK.  It is a great opportunity for us to pursue a novel drug discovery programme for both Parkinson’s and MND.  We will now progress these molecules through the next stage of drug development with Sygnature Discovery and Peak Proteins.”



Dr Arthur Roach, Director of Research and Development at Parkinson’s UK, said: “Keapstone is a pioneering project and a world-first in terms of its formation.  By seeking early collaboration with Sheffield in the creation of a spin-out biotech company, we will be able to investigate and develop potential Parkinson’s treatments with an intensity that is unprecedented for a charity.  This exciting new venture would not have been possible without our supporters and partners. We’re looking forward to sharing the developments of this new project with them.”

Dr Simon Hirst, Founder and CEO of Sygnature Discovery commented, “We are delighted to be collaborating with Keapstone Therapeutics and Parkinson’s UK to discover new drugs to treat Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.  Keapstone’s novel therapeutic approach offers huge potential of developing treatments for these debilitating and ultimately fatal diseases.  Sygnature has considerable experience in undertaking drug discovery research directed towards neurodegenerative diseases and has a successful track record of success in delivering clinical candidates.”

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