The biopharmaceutical company has promising anti-seizure results with their own designed small molecule lead structure in different epilepsy models
Planegg / Martinsried (Germany), May 23, 2018 – Epilepsy is a brain disease affecting about 60 million people worldwide. For at least a third of patients current medicines do not control the recurring seizures. Bicoll’s in-house R&D team has developed a small molecule lead structure with anti-seizure properties. The molecule was tested in human and rodent models in cooperation with Prof. Stephanie Schorge’s team, UCL Institute of Neurology, London and Prof. David Henshall’s team in Physiology & Medical Physics Department at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. The research efforts were partially funded by the European Union’s Framework Programme 7, EpimiRNA (www.epimirna.eu). During in vitro tests the application of the small molecule suppressed epileptic activity in both rat and human brain slices. These effects could be reversed when the molecule was washed away. Other tests in an industry-standard anticonvulsive screening model suggest the molecule is effective when systemically injected, indicating potential translation to humans. These results encourage further development of a drug based on this small molecule lead structure. Partners are currently working on the next round of experiments. The latest results will be presented by David Henshall, Professor of Molecular Physiology and Neuroscience (RCSI) during the EpiXchange, May 23rd, in Brussels.
“This compound arose from a rationale design process using knowledge of the molecular structures controlling brain excitability. The project was able to be realized partly through this funded EU program, leading to the recent experiments both in humanized and animal models of epilepsy. The encouraging results represent important first proof-of-concept and confirm our understanding of this small molecule’s potential action against epileptic brain activity”, said Dr. Kai Lamottke, Managing Director of Bicoll GmbH. Further, he points out: “Moreover, I am impressed how Bicoll chemists have progressed this lead compound through facing and solving difficult chemical hurdles as well as during synthesis up-scaling”.
Now, the goal of the different partners is to create a proposal for the pharmaceutical market as a new anti-epilepsy drug. The team is currently preparing further cooperative actions for the development of the drug, including meeting with potential partners.
Bicoll is a biopharmaceutical company, offering pre-clinical support in the area of drug discovery from natural products and medicinal chemistry. Dedicated to the discovery and optimization of the highest quality lead compounds, Bicoll provides an efficient, multi-disciplinary approach to drug discovery. With outstanding expertise in high tech natural product chemistry and validated experience in medicinal chemistry, Bicoll increases quality and quantity of the drug discovery pipeline of its partner’s candidate portfolios.
Bicoll Group provides its services to a number of international clients of various fields of interest, e.g. pharmaceutical and agrochemical industry. Bicoll comprises two legal entities: Bicoll GmbH in Planegg / Martinsried, Germany and its 100% daughter company Bicoll Biotechnology (Shanghai) Co. Ltd., P.R. China. Currently Bicoll employs 40 people at both locations. More at www.bicoll-group.com and LinkedIn.
RCSI is an international not-for-profit health sciences institution, with its headquarters in Dublin, focused on education and research to drive improvements in human health worldwide. RCSI is ranked among the top 250 (top 2%) of universities worldwide in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings (2018) and RCSI‘s research is ranked first in Ireland for citations. The RCSI Research Institute is one of Ireland’s foremost translational and clinical research institutions comprising 75 principal investigators and core facilities for genomics, proteomics, imaging and biobanking and the platforms for microRNA profiling from tissue and biofluids.
Prof. Henshall is the Director of FutureNeuro, a new Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre dedicated to developing new technologies and solutions for the treatment, diagnosis, and monitoring of chronic and rare neurological diseases (http://pi.rcsi.ie/pi/dhenshall/ and www.futureneurocentre.ie). His team currently comprises a team of researchers working on molecular mechanisms underlying the development, diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy.
The Channelopathies group at the UCL Institute of Neurology specialises in functional characterisation of ion channels, particularly those which are relevant to human disease, including epilepsy. They are interested in both how changes in ion channels lead to human disease, and how human disease can trigger changes in ion channels. Their work spans a wide range of channels, voltage and ligand gated, as well as transporters. They are not limited to mutations and coding variants, but also have investigated the impact of alternative splicing, and how changing subunit assembly changes ion channels. As well as intrinsic changes in ion channel behaviour, they have determined how changes in channels alters response to anti-epileptic drugs. In order to explore the function of different channels they express variations of our channels in many systems, including in neurons, both in primary cultures, and in vivo.
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