The University of Melbourne has entered an agreement with US start-up company Procypra Therapeutics LLC to develop a class of drugs for treating neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease is a progressively degenerative neurological disorder that affects approximately 6.3 million worldwide. It causes changes to key proteins in the brain making them toxic.
Cross-disciplinary research at the University of Melbourne and the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health has found that a class of synthetic compounds called copper bis (thiosemicarbazones) can potentially treat Parkinson's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases. Copper bis have the potential to treat the disease by preventing modifications to the proteins occur.
The research was led by Dr Paul Donnelly, Professor Kevin Barnham, and Professor Anthony White, all of them from different departments of the University. The idea of developing a new therapy for the treatment of the devastating disease was from Procypra, but the members of the University of Melbourne adopted the project. Professor Frances Separovic gave her point of view about this agreement, which according to her: “Reflects the desire for innovative research at The University of Melbourne to be translated into impact and recognizes the importance of working with academic collaborators, like the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health and industry partners to achieve this goal”. Under the arrangement, the University will receive royalty payments from the sale of products by Procypra. The Company anticipates that first-in-human clinical trials will commence within 3 years.
University of Melbourne enters agreement to develop therapy for Parkinson's disease