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U of Oxford and FORMA Therapeutics in partnership to advance deubiquitinating enzyme (DUB) inhibitors as treatment for neurodegenerative diseases


By David Schwartz
Published: May 15th, 2018

Watertown, MA-based FORMA Therapeutics and the University of Oxford have entered into a collaboration and license agreement to identify, validate and develop deubiquitinating enzyme (DUB) inhibitors for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.

DUBs are a family of over a hundred proteases that play important roles in protein and cellular homeostasis, which are critical to normal cell function. Evidence suggests that targeting this enzyme class can ameliorate the effects of disrupted cellular mechanisms that have been linked to the progression of serious neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

The collaboration brings together expertise in disease molecular pathology and DUB biology from the Alzheimer’s Research UK Oxford Drug Discovery Institute (ODDI), the Oxford Parkinson’s Disease Centre (OPDC), and FORMA’s own expertise in small molecule drug design and development.

John Davis, PhD, ODDI’s chief scientific officer at ODDI, said the research agreement – an expanding of an existing collaboration with FORMA — is intended to foster “rapid progress towards identifying new treatment approaches and raising hope of some relief for the families coping with these dreadful conditions.

Under the terms of the agreement, FORMA will fund a multi-year research program at Oxford focusing on DUBs implicated in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disease. The partnership “complements FORMA’s innovative efforts in drug discovery and [we] are confident that scientists at Oxford will help us rapidly advance these novel approaches to progressive neurological diseases,” said Michael Ahlijanian, FORMA’s head of neurosciences.

The deal grants FORMA the right to develop and commercialize DUB inhibitors studied under the collaboration.

Source: Business Wire

Posted under: Industry-Sponsored Research Week

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