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Lectus wins USD 6.1m investment from Wellcome Trust

Lectus Therapeutics wins a USD 6.1m capital award from the Wellcome Trust to fund a programme to identify new classes of selective potassium channel modulator drug candidates to treat multiple sclerosis

Lectus Therapeutics, a UK-based drug discovery and development company, has received a GBP 3m (USD 6.1m) investment capital award from the Wellcome Trust to fund a programme to identify new classes of selective potassium channel modulator drug candidates to treat multiple sclerosis (MS).

The funding derives from the Wellcome Trust's 'Seeding Drug Discovery Initiative', and will allow Lectus to leverage its proprietary LEPTICS (Leveraged Enabling Proteomics Technology for Ion Channel Screening) technology to identify novel drug candidates for MS.

The compounds will target a novel, first-in-class mechanism of action and are anticipated to address some of the problems associated with existing drugs on the market and in development for the disorder. 

Per the agreement, the Wellcome Trust will retain the option to fund subsequent preclinical and clinical development of compounds identified through the alliance.

Dr Roland Kozlowski, CEO of Lectus, said: "The partnership provides both significant endorsement of the company's scientific and corporate strategies and aligns the company's strength in discovery and development with the charitable objectives of the Wellcome Trust."

Dr Ted Bianco, Director of Technology Transfer at the Wellcome Trust, added: "The funding will support an innovative drug discovery programme in an area of unmet medical need and validate the approach for identifying next-generation ion channel modulators for further disease indications."

According to a Research and Markets' report, the 2006 global MS market is estimated to be worth USD 4.9bn, with an annual growth rate of 8.9 per cent. It is the fifth largest segment of the CNS market. The MS market is currently dominated by six treatments: Avonex (Biogen), Betaseron/Betaferon (Schering), Copaxone (Teva), Novatrone (Schering), Rebif (Serono/ Pfizer) and Tysabri (Biogen/ Elan).

30th September 2008

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