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Parkinson’s UK and Parkinson’s Foundation partner to accelerate drug development

Parkinson's disease is the fastest growing neurological condition worldwide, currently affecting 145,000 people in the UK

Parkinson's UK

Parkinson’s UK and the Parkinson’s Foundation have announced an international strategic partnership to 'speed up the search for new treatments’ for Parkinson’s disease (PD).

The partnership includes a $3m investment from the Parkinson's Foundation into the Parkinson’s Virtual Biotech, the drug development arm of Parkinson’s UK.

The money will be paid over a three year period and will complement the ongoing investment from Parkinson’s UK – currently standing at over $19m since it started in 2017 – to accelerate research into the scientific breakthroughs that have the ‘greatest potential to become life changing medications’.

Led by pharma and biotech experts, the Virtual Biotech team reviews and curates the most promising research that would otherwise struggle to find private sector investors from the thousands of studies underway at any given time. The Parkinson’s Virtual Biotech then invests in these directly, providing ongoing oversight and stewardship, and identifying the right global partners to work with.

By operating like a biotech, but without the additional costs of full-time staff and buildings, the Parkinson’s Virtual Biotech is a ‘uniquely innovative approach’ to drug development within the charity sector, Parkinson’s Foundation stated.

Nine projects are currently being fast-tracked, including the potential of cannabidiol to treat psychosis in PD, to assess whether a common anti-sickness drug could manage hallucinations, and if it is possible to develop therapies that restore mitochondrial function to slow or stop the condition.

PD is the fastest growing neurological condition worldwide, with 145,000 people in the UK living with the disease, according to Parkinson’s UK. There is currently no cure for the disease and, though current treatment options can help to manage symptoms, they often come with side effects and become less effective over time.

Arthur Roach, director of research at Parkinson’s UK, said: “Drug development is ultimately what will lead to new treatments, but it comes with high risk, high costs and long timelines. Our innovative approach takes methods from the private sector and venture capital financing and adapts them to the charitable context, allowing us to be agile and tactical in how we invest, monitor and keep projects moving.

“… Through this long-term strategic partnership with the Parkinson’s Foundation, we will together be able to invest more funding into more projects, both new and existing. Together, we can deliver much needed new treatments for Parkinson’s in years, not decades.”

Article by
Emily Kimber

25th August 2022

From: Research, Healthcare



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