Rewind Therapeutics awarded €2.9 million VLAIO grant to discover and develop novel drug candidates for myelin-related neurological diseases
New industry-academic collaboration leverages key areas of expertise in Flanders and is funded by the Flanders Innovation and Entrepreneurship (VLAIO) agency
Leuven, Belgium, 1 August 2019 – Rewind Therapeutics (“Rewind”), a private Belgian biotech company developing innovative first-in-class remyelinating therapies for myelin-related diseases such as multiple sclerosis, announces it will lead a new industry-academic R&D collaboration to discover and develop first-in-class inhibitors of a key GPCR (G protein-coupled receptor) target that has an influential role in myelin-related neurological diseases. The program is being supported with a €2.9 million grant from Flanders Innovation and Entrepreneurship (VLAIO).
The collaboration partners include the Stem Cell Institute at the KU Leuven (KUL) and imec, a world-leading research and innovation hub in nanoelectronics and digital technologies. KUL will develop cellular screening assays based on human stem cells to assess the potential of small molecule candidates to block the target GPCR and induce nerve remyelination, and imec will devise a novel chip-based engineering approach to measure nerve myelination.
Collectively, the collaboration partners will provide state-of-the-art and complementary expertise necessary to establish a disruptive innovation platform for studying the biology of nerve myelination and neuronal function and provide unique advantages in discovering and advancing new potent and selective drugs for nerve and brain repair.
“Therapies that promote myelin repair would represent an unprecedented approach to treating multiple progressive neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis and could prevent or reverse disability,” said Ian J. Reynolds, CEO of Rewind Therapeutics. “We are delighted to collaborate with world-leading teams in Flanders and further afield to discover and advance candidate molecules that may arise from the program. We are also grateful for the financial support from VLAIO and pleased to support its mission of advancing world-class innovation in the Flanders region.”
Professor Catherine Verfaillie, Head of the KUL Stem Cell Institute, added: “We believe that our unique expertise with stem cells destined to become nerve cells such as oligodendrocytes, will be highly valuable as part of this new initiative to advance the understanding of re-myelination and the identification of new approaches to repair damaged nerves.”
“Imec, with a broad neurotechnology portfolio, engages in various research projects that aim to push forward the understanding of the brain and the development of therapies for neurological diseases”, said Dries Braeken, R&D manager of imec. “We are excited to leverage our multielectrode array (MEA) chip platform and neural interfacing technology to help find new therapeutics for neurological diseases.”