New industry collaboration for Prof Rubinsztein

PhoreMost Ltd, a UK biopharmaceutical company dedicated to drugging ‘undruggable’ disease targets, has entered into a research collaboration with the laboratory of Prof David Rubinsztein at the University of Cambridge.

Prof Rubinsztein’s lab focuses on understanding how autophagy, a cellular waste disposal system, could be manipulated to clear toxic protein build-up occurring in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or Huntington’s. To identify potential targets that modulate autophagy, the group will collaborate with PhoreMost to screen for ‘hidden’ drug targets.

Dr Chris Torrance, CEO of PhoreMost, which is based at Babraham Research Campus, said: “We are very excited to be joining forces with Professor Rubinsztein, whose expert insights into neurodegenerative diseases will enable PhoreMost to expand into this important yet therapeutically unmet disease area of aging, and thereby complement our growing oncology discovery pipeline. This collaboration with the Rubinsztein research team fits our scientific and corporate mantra: find and drug the best disease targets, even if they are currently considered impossible, and engage closely with experts to solve the problem.”

Prof Rubinsztein said: “Autophagy is a fundamental protein quality control process in cells. It has the potential to significantly impact several neurodegenerative disorders, if we can recruit it to degrade intracellular, disease-causing, aggregate-prone proteins in the brain. Combining our cutting-edge research and cell models in this area with innovative techniques like SITESEEKER will enable us to exploit the full depth of targetable disease biology that is present in this pathway.”

Prof Rubinsztein is the Lead Academic Scientist at the Alzheimer’s Research UK Cambridge Drug Discovery Institute, a venture that Dr Torrance believes will also be beneficial to the partnership.

Dr Torrance added: “The Drug Discovery Institute provides an innovative path for companies to translate early collaborations, like this current one we hold through the University, into later-stage research and development efforts. Like many new drug start-up companies, PhoreMost benefits greatly by working in collaborative networks such Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Drug Discovery Alliance, which is a creative initiative that shares PhoreMost’s primary mission of translational research and rapid new medicine development.”