NRG Therapeutics Announces £2.68M Innovate UK Award to Develop New Medicines to Treat Parkinson’s and Motor Neuron Disease

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  • £2.68 million Biomedical Catalyst (BMC) early-stage award funded in part by Innovate UK to support development of disease-modifying medicines for debilitating chronic neurodegenerative disorders
  • NRG has a pipeline of brain-penetrant small molecule inhibitors of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore (mPTP) with potential as first-in-class treatments for Parkinson’s disease (PD) and motor neuron disease (MND)

Cambridge, UK, 30 May 2022 – NRG Therapeutics Ltd (“NRG” or “company”), an innovative neuroscience company targeting mitochondrial dysfunction, is pleased to announce that it has received a highly competitive Biomedical Catalyst (BMC) award to fund pre- clinical development of its novel small molecule disease-modifying medicines for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, motor neuron disease (MND) and other debilitating chronic neurodegenerative disorders.

The £2.68 million early-stage BMC award part-funded by the government-backed agency Innovate UK will support a 24-month project, commencing this month.

NRG is applying groundbreaking science in the field of mitochondrial biology to develop first-in-class treatments for Parkinson’s, MND (also known as ALS) and, potentially, other neurodegenerative disorders. Its approach is based on inhibiting the mitochondrial permeability transition pore (mPTP) in brain cells which has been shown to be neuroprotective in several preclinical models of Parkinson’s and MND.

Mitochondria are the powerhouses or batteries of cells and therefore essential for maintaining cell health but there is now a substantial body of evidence showing that mitochondrial failure or dysfunction is common across many degenerative diseases. NRG’s investigational new drugs have been shown in vitro to protect mitochondria and prevent the death of brain cells and therefore have the potential to halt or significantly slow the progression of disease in individuals with Parkinson’s or MND.

NRG is an innovative private UK company founded by pharma-experienced biotech entrepreneurs with in-depth knowledge in neuroscience R&D. It has received seed equity funding from the Parkinson’s Virtual Biotech, the drug development arm of Parkinson’s UK and grant funding from The Michael J. Fox Foundation and now, Innovate UK.

Dr Arthur Roach, Director of Research at Parkinson’s UK and a Board member of NRG Therapeutics, said, “What has limited the pharmaceutical industry to date from exploring mPTP inhibitors as novel therapeutic treatments, has been the poor central nervous system (CNS) penetration of known mPTP inhibitors. NRG’s small molecules are the first orally bioavailable and CNS-penetrant inhibitors of the mPTP. We are pleased to support NRG in developing its promising discoveries into new drug treatments that could transform the lives of people with Parkinson’s.”

If successful, the project would deliver the first disease-modifying medicine to halt or slow disease progression for people with Parkinson’s who are currently treated through management of disease symptoms only. PD affects ~6 million individuals and is the fastest-growing neurological disorder in the world, and so a major healthcare challenge for society.

In addition, NRG is targeting a novel pathological mechanism in MND that was identified in 2020 by its collaborators in Australia. MND is a devastating neurodegenerative disease that typically leads to death within 3-5 years of diagnosis and for which the current gold-standard treatment extends life by ~3 months only.

NRG Therapeutics’ co-founder and CEO Dr Neil Miller said, “Mitochondrial dysfunction is a common underlying pathology in many degenerative diseases and there is a substantial body of preclinical data available which demonstrates that inhibition of the mPTP in the brain prevents neuronal cell death, reduces neuroinflammation and extends survival in animals. With our unique discoveries, NRG is in a leadership position in this field to develop first-in-class CNS-penetrant mPTP inhibitors”.

The BMC award (of which NRG contributes 30% of the funding) will, over 24 months, advance NRG’s proprietary mPTP inhibitors from lead optimization through to completion of IND-enabling GLP-toxicology studies with its lead asset. Specifically, it will generate a preclinical data package that demonstrates NRG’s drug candidates penetrate into the brain, protect mitochondria, prevent brain cell death in animal models and are safe & well tolerated following chronic dosing. It follows an earlier award to NRG of an Innovate UK EDGE grant which provided invaluable scientific and commercial insights for NRG’s MND programme.

A person wearing glasses Description automatically generated with medium confidence

Caption: Dr Neil Miller, CEO and co-founder of NRG Therapeutics

Copyright: NRG Therapeutics

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Caption: Research into new treatments for Parkinson’s

Copyright: Parkinson’s UK


Media inquiries (for NRG Therapeutics)

Sue Charles, Charles Consultants – +44 7968 726585

About NRG Therapeutics –

NRG Therapeutics is a neuroscience drug discovery company building a pipeline of disease modifying drug candidates, focused on therapeutic approaches that will restore mitochondrial function and slow or halt the progression of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and MND, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) as it is also known.

The company’s pre-clinical pipeline of small molecule assets is based on inhibiting the mitochondrial permeability transition pore. Inhibition of the mPTP has been shown to protect neurons, reduce neuroinflammation and extend survival in pre-clinical disease models.

Based in Cambridge, UK, NRG Therapeutics is a private company with equity investment from the Parkinson’s Virtual Biotech, the drug development arm of Parkinson’s UK, and grant funding from Innovate UK and charitable organizations including The Michael J. Fox Foundation.

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About Innovate UK –

Innovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government. We drive productivity and economic growth by supporting businesses to develop and realize the potential of new ideas, including those from the UK’s world-class research base.

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