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Neurotargets awarded European patent for the treatment of nerve damage

Press release issued: 29 October 2002

Media release
Neurotargets awarded European patent for the treatment of nerve damage

NeuroTargets, a drug discovery and development company focusing on neurological diseases spun-out from Bristol University last year, has been granted a European patent for a new drug target to treat nerve damage.

The patent was awarded following the company's research utilising state-of-the-art gene technologies to identify and develop new drugs for diseases associated with chronic pain, such as rheumatoid arthritis and neuropathic pain associated with diabetes and trauma.

NeuroTargets is developing additional gene libraries for the identification of gene targets in a range of other areas, including nerve regeneration, inflammation and stroke disorders.

Last year the company signed a research and collaboration agreement with Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) to provide novel drug targets from its gene libraries for MSD's neuroscience research group.

NeuroTargets' Chief Scientific Officer, Professor David Wynick, and his collaborators, have demonstrated that following nerve injury, high levels of galanin are synthesised and stored within a number of brain regions, indicating that galanin plays a critical role in the response of the central and peripheral nervous system to injury. The company now intends to identify suitable lead compounds to treat neuropathy. NeuroTargets is currently seeking further funding to generate and characterise gene libraries for additional disease areas, and to validate other novel genes that it has discovered through its research programme.

Commenting on the award, Professor Wynick said: "We are delighted by the award of this patent. Neuropathy caused by diabetes, chemotherapy and anti-retroviral therapy now affects more than four million people in the West. We can now begin work on this new drug target to find suitable lead compounds to treat this debilitating condition."

NeuroTargets Ltd is a drug discovery and development company focusing on neurological diseases and is a joint venture between Bristol University and ANGLE Technology, a venture management and technology commercialisation group. NeuroTargets has a unique, patented technology platform for discovering genes associated with pain and nerve repair that are not identifiable by other methods. The Company intends to develop a significant pipeline of New Chemical Entities (NCEs) based on its research programmes, and is currently generating in-house libraries of genes to identify novel drug targets which will then be screened for lead compounds. The Company intends to develop new drugs that will be used as treatments for neuropathic pain, inflammatory pain, diabetic neuropathy and stroke. These disease areas all have substantial markets with significant unmet medical need.

NeuroTargets management team comprises: CEO, Dr Bill Mullen (ex-Abbott Laboratories); CSO, Professor David Wynick (Bristol University; Honorary Consultant Physician, Bristol Royal Infirmary); Commercial Director elect, Paul Toon (ex-Merrill Lynch, Technomark, BioCorp Securities); CFO, Ian Griffiths (financial director, ANGLE Technology; ex-KPMG); and Chairman, Andrew Newland (Chief Executive, ANGLE Technology, formerly head of KPMG's High Technology Practice in the UK). The non-executive directors are Dr John Fromson (founder, Devco Ltd; ex Vernalis, Hoechst), Professor Stephen Bloom (Hammersmith Hospitals Trust; Senior Vice President, Royal College of Physicians), and Andrew Newland. The Company currently employs three scientific staff at its Bristol laboratory.

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Copyright: 2002 The University of Bristol, UK
Updated: Tuesday, 29-Oct-2002 15:43:55 GMT

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