London, UK, 13 October 2014: MRC Technology, a leading technology transfer charity that helps bridge the gap between basic medical research and commercialisation in life sciences, helping early discoveries progress to clinical application, and Proximagen Group Limited (“Proximagen”) are pleased to announce today that they have entered into collaboration to progress small molecules for the treatment of inflammatory and autoimmune disease. Proximagen is a UK-based biotechnology company focused on the development and commercialisation of novel therapeutics for diseases of the central nervous system (CNS) and is owned by Upsher-Smith Laboratories, Inc., a Minnesota-based growing pharmaceutical company.
Applying MRC Technology’s medicinal chemistry expertise, the project will focus on the potential of the enzymatic cytokine, Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF), as a key target and progress the research towards proof of concept in an animal model with future commercialisation potential.
MIF is a multipotent cytokine that has been implicated in the pathogenesis of numerous autoimmune inflammatory disorders. MRC Technology will investigate the therapeutic potential of the MIF inhibitors through proof of concept studies in animal models including efficacy, pharmacokinetic and toxicology data. This work will be carried out as a prelude to MRC Technology identifying commercial partnering opportunities for the project and subsequent progression towards the clinic.
Michael Dalrymple, Director of Business Development at MRC Technology commented: “This collaboration represents a new shared-risk model for us to meet our objective of pushing new healthcare discoveries towards the market, by working with companies to help progress their promising but less-prioritised projects. We are hopeful that this collaboration will lead to compounds with proof of efficacy ready for partnering with industry.”
“The selective inhibition of MIF has the potential to offer new therapeutic avenues for inflammatory and autoimmune disease,” commented Martyn Pritchard Ph.D, Head of R&D at Proximagen. “We are delighted to be working with MRC Technology and their expert team to further progress this important project.”
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.