Metrion Biosciences, a specialist ion channel contract research and drug discovery company, and Bioqube Ventures, a specialist European life sciences investment firm, have entered into a collaboration, backed by Bioqube Factory Fund I, to incubate a drug discovery research project targeting autoimmune diseases.
Under the terms of the collaboration, Bioqube and Metrion will advance a lead series of previously identified highly potent and selective small molecule inhibitors of the human Kv1.3 potassium ion channel to enable further develop-ment. Activation of this voltage-gated ion channel in effector memory T-cells is thought to be an early and necessary step in the development of auto-immune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus nephritis, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis and many others. The lead candidate(s) will then be progressed for further development and human clinical trials. Metrion will provide its expertise in ion channel assays and compound characterisation, with additional support from undisclosed medicinal chemistry and ADME and Toxicology partners.
Dirk Reyn, Managing Partner, Bioqube Ventures, commented: “This collaboration is part of our venture creation model in which we invest in projects, our so called Create Projects, prior to the creation of a company. Through these Create Projects we invest directly in assets that are residing within academia, biotech, pharma, or in this case with Metrion, a CRO, with the aim to derisk and mature these programmes before we fully build portfolio companies around them. We are very pleased to now be supporting this promising project with Metrion Biosciences.”
Dr Keith McCullagh, Chairman, Metrion Biosciences, said: “We are delighted to be working with Bioqube Ventures on this exciting project. They have an excellent understanding of the criteria for successful pharmaceutical development and the potential breakthrough opportunity represented by human Kv1.3 inhibitors in the treatment of autoimmune disorders.”