New biotech firm to focus on protein misfolding conditions

New biotech firm to focus on protein misfolding conditions

A new biotech firm, Yumanity Therapeutics, has been launched to develop new treatments for Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

These conditions are all caused by protein misfolding, and research has previously been hampered by a lack of tools to study these defects.

Yumanity has developed three discovery platforms, pioneered by Susan Lindquist at the Whitehead Institute and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

The company says it has identified one potential new target for treating Parkinson's disease, and the team will begin work immediately on advancing its new chemical lead series for this condition, as well as identifying additional compounds for Alzheimer's disease and ALS.

"Our unique approach overcomes the fundamental limitations of today's target-based drug discovery by exploiting the power of phenotypic screening in yeast and human stem cell-derived neurons," said the company's founder, Dr Tony Coles.

Dr Coles was previously chairman and chief executive officer of Onyx Pharmaceuticals, which was bought by Amgen in late 2013 for $10.5 billion (£6.7 billion).

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