Parkinson’s UK launches £1m virtual biotech company

09 Mar 2017 News

Researcher at the Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience

Parkinson’s UK and the University of Sheffield have partnered to set up a £1m virtual biotech company to create new Parkinson’s drugs. 

The virtual company, Keapstone Therapeutics, has been set up support initiatives that do not attract funding from the pharmaceutical industry and will combine research skills from the University with funding and expertise from the charity to help develop revolutionary drugs for Parkinson’s.

Parkinson’s UK believes it is the first time that a charity has approached a research partner to set up a spin-out company in this way. 

Arthur Roach, director of research at Parkinson’s UK, said: “Due to the funding gap in early stage drug discovery, there are promising scientific breakthroughs for Parkinson’s happening every day that are not being picked up and developed by commercial companies. 

“This major new programme of work will allow us to act in a similar way to a small biotech company. However, unlike a commercial company, our primary goal is the creation of new treatments to improve the lives of people with Parkinson’s, regardless of commercial considerations. “

Keapstone Therapeutics will build on over a decade of research into the area at Sheffield University. 

Dr Richard Mead, from the University’s Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience, said: “It is a great opportunity for us to pursue a novel drug discovery program for Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative conditions.”

Steve Ford, chief executive at Parkinson’s UK, said: “Parkinsons’s UK is delighted to be working with Sheffield University through the formation of Keapstone, to help unlock the potential of the very promising discoveries made by Dr Richard Mead and his team.

“For years we have worked to support and accelerate the progression of research discoveries from the lab into clinical trials, with the aim of developing new drugs that can be used to manage and treat Parkinson’s. The launch of Keapstone marks an exciting step change in our strategy, which will allow us greater involvement in research and more flexibility to progress promising leads.”

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