Alchemab Therapeutics, a biotechnology company unlocking new therapies from within the immune system, today announced that it has been awarded a grant of £1.7 million (US$2 million) from Innovate UK’s Biomedical Catalyst (‘BMC’) 2022 funding competition, to accelerate development of a first-in-class disease modifying therapy for Huntington’s disease. Working in collaboration with Medicines Discovery Catapult (‘MDC’), Alchemab is carrying out preclinical studies to progress its panel of antibodies towards first in human studies.
Alchemab is harnessing a revolutionary way of finding new drug targets by understanding the unique features of the antibody response of resilient individuals, enabling Alchemab to develop therapies based on naturally derived antibodies to prevalent, hard-to-treat diseases impacting millions of people and which currently have limited therapeutic options.
Alchemab discovered the panel of antibodies through its platform and hopes that this will lead to a disease modifying therapy for Huntington’s Disease. Huntington’s Disease is a devastating neurodegenerative disorder for which there is no cure or treatment to slow or stop disease progress, only treatments to help manage the symptoms.
Young Kwon, Chief Executive Officer of Alchemab, said: “Our aim is to develop antibodies as therapies to transform the treatment of Huntington’s Disease by slowing or stopping the course of neurodegeneration. This latest funding from Innovate UK will enable us to accelerate development of our antibody and deliver some hope for patients.”
This is the second grant awarded to Alchemab and MDC. The financing will support preclinical development of the lead antibody to demonstrate the required safety, efficacy and manufacturability profile for first in human clinical trials and preparation for later stages of development.
Jane Osbourn, Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer at Alchemab, commented: “Alchemab’s platform flips drug discovery on its head: we start with patient response and let it guide us to the most important targets and therapeutics. I’m excited that our novel approach has led us to this potential first-in-class antibody and target. We hope that this important program is one of many, opening up a new front in our ability to combat hard-to-treat diseases such as neurodegeneration and cancers.”
MDC is reshaping drug discovery for patient benefit, transforming great UK science into better treatments through partnership. It works to tackle industry-led challenges, overcoming the barriers that limit today’s drug discovery with effective interventions. By industrialising new technologies to better predict the probability of successful medicines discovery, connecting the life sciences ecosystem and supporting drug discovery innovators, MDC accelerates business growth, leading to improved outcomes for patients.
The grant was awarded by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, as part of the Biomedical Catalyst 2022 industry-led research and development (R&D) competition, to support UK businesses developing innovative health or healthcare-focussed products, technologies and processes.
Dr Martin Main, Chief Scientist at Medicines Discovery Catapult, said: “MDC exists to help companies like Alchemab develop innovative medicines that have the potential to change patient outcomes. We are very pleased to have secured the additional funding to continue working on this important project. By combining MDC’s expertise in pre-clinical imaging and biomarkers with Alchemab’s innovative antibody discovery platform, we hope to uncover much-needed treatment options for people living with Huntington’s Disease.”
Alchemab studies the unique antibody response of resilient individuals to develop drugs based on naturally derived antibodies to prevalent, hard-to-treat diseases which do not have disease modifying therapies. Alchemab’s platform integrates data mining of patient-derived immune responses with the latest, multi-disciplinary drug discovery approaches to understand what keeps people well. The goal is to unlock nature’s engineering and harness the incredible human immune system to find breakthrough drugs.
Alchemab’s highly experienced team has broad expertise and capabilities across discovery and development. Through collaborations with world class institutions, Alchemab taps into large ecosystems and millions of patient samples which it analyzes using advanced computational approaches.
Alchemab is headquartered in London, UK with labs in Cambridge, UK and Boston, US.
For more information, visit www.alchemab.co.uk.
About Medicines Discovery Catapult
Medicines Discovery Catapult (MDC) is an independent, not-for-profit organisation and part of the Catapult Network established by Innovate UK.
MDC’s vision is to reshape drug discovery for the benefit of patients by transforming great UK science into better treatments through partnership.
MDC is in place to tackle industry-led challenges overcoming the barriers that face UK life-science businesses with effective interventions and industrialising new technologies to drive the adoption of new scientific tools and techniques for discovering medicines.
For more information, please visit md.catapult.org.uk.
About Innovate UK
Innovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government. We drive productivity and economic growth by supporting businesses to develop and realise the potential of new ideas, including those from the UK’s world-class research base.