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LifeArc® licenses lead stage molecules to Daiichi Sankyo

London, UK, April 16, 2019.  LifeArc, one of the UK’s leading medical research charities, has signed a deal to license an ion channel drug discovery programme to Daiichi Sankyo Company, Limited (hereafter, Daiichi Sankyo).  Small molecules, optimised as part of the programme, are capable of affecting the sensitivity of neurons, show efficacy in treating pain and will undergo further pre-clinical development.


The licensing deal successfully concludes a research collaboration between LifeArc, Oxford University’s Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences and Daiichi Sankyo.  Commenting on the announcement, Dr Justin Bryans, LifeArc’s Executive Director, Drug Discovery, said: We’re delighted to have been a part of an exciting collaboration that advanced basic research into a pre-clinical development programme within a major global pharmaceutical company. The success of this project is a testament to fantastic teamwork between all involved.”


Under the terms of the deal Daiichi Sankyo acquires an exclusive worldwide license to a discovery stage programme of small molecules with the potential to develop into novel treatments for intractable pain.


Jeff Jerman, Principal senior scientist and LifeArc project lead said: “The small molecule drug candidates modulate the ion channel that underpins pain sensing.  LifeArc is using the experience and insight in this ion channel subfamily to explore the therapeutic potential of a range of other channels in the subfamily, including, but not exclusively, for pain.”


Summit Pharmaceuticals International Corporation served as advisor to LifeArc in connection with this transaction.

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Press contact

Becky Wright, Four Health Communications

Tel: 020 3761 4495



Oxford Headache Centre contact

Chris McIntyre, Communications, Oxford Headache Centre



Notes to editors

About LifeArc

LifeArc is a medical research charity with a 25-year legacy of helping scientists and organisations turn their research into treatments and diagnostics for patients.  LifeArc turns great science into greater patient impact.  The charity brings together a network of partners to tackle specific diseases and directly funds academic and early stage research.  So far, LifeArc’s work has helped to develop four drugs (Keytruda®, Actemra®, Tysabri® and Entyvio®) and a test for resistance to carbapenems. Twitter @lifearc1


About and Oxford University’s Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences

The Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences has an established research and teaching portfolio with a national and international reputation for excellence. It comprises five sections: the Centre for the Prevention of Stroke & Dementia, the Division of Clinical Neurology, the Nuffield Division of Anaesthetics, the Nuffield Laboratory of Ophthalmology and the Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging. The Department is based in the John Radcliffe Hospital and has developed a highly integrated and interdisciplinary environment in which research, teaching, clinical training and clinical care interact. This enables new approaches to the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of brain diseases.

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Last Updated: 23-Apr-2019