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i2020 Accelerator Invests in Developing Novel Highly-Specific Approaches to Treatment of Neurodegenerative Diseases Based on Previously Unrecognized Protein-Protein Interactions

SAN DIEGO, Oct. 21, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- i2020 Accelerator announced today its plans to invest in a cutting-edge research program based out of the University of Turku (UTU), Finland. The program studies previously unrecognized protein-protein interactions that disrupt The N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDA) signaling pathways, the hyperactivity of which plays a pivotal role in many neuro-degenerative conditions and neuropathic pain. Under the terms of the collaboration, i2020 will provide funds, through its parent life-science investment firm - Torrey Pines Investment, as well as scientific expertise of ChemDiv as a recognized global leader in drug discovery solutions and a part of its global network of partners. This concerted effort is aimed at helping UTU accelerate the development of novel neuroprotectants and non-addictive pain treatments with high specificity based on its cutting-edge research and in-vivo study results.

"We designed a cell-permeable peptide that inhibits NMDA-induced recruitment of NOS1AP to nNOS," explains Dr. Michael Courtney, Principal Investigator at the University of Turku. "Our studies demonstrate, for the first time, that the disruption of nNOS–NOS1AP protein–protein interactions is possible without unwanted motor ataxic effects of NMDAR antagonists, which have been previously studied as neuroprotectants but had limited therapeutic potential due to their adverse side effects."

"The previously unrecognized heterodivalent highly-specific interaction of nNOS with NOS1AP provides a novel approach to targeting the NR2B-PSD95-nNOS complex to disrupt signaling pathways downstream of NMDARs," adds Rouslan Michtchenko, Director of Strategic Partnering at i2020 Accelerator. "The new approach shows efficacy in preclinical pain models, and may provide distinct opportunities for pharmacological intervention in NOS1AP-dependent signaling and excitotoxicity, as well as future development of neuroprotectants with high specificity."

Subject to the successful achievement of the collaboration milestones, i2020 might consider investing into a startup based on the results of the developments.

About Torrey Pines Investment and i2020 Accelerator

Torrey Pines Investment (San Diego, CA) is a specialty life-science investment firm that invests in development stage molecules, diagnostics, and therapeutics in areas of high unmet medical need. [] By rapidly de-risking novel science and enriching partner pipelines with best-in-class molecules, i2020 Accelerator helps accelerate early stage drug discovery platforms towards advanced lead and clinical candidate level within a two-year framework. i2020's vast scientific and global resource network tailored specifically to the needs of early drug development programs allows it to take on projects in a wide array of therapeutic areas, from immunology to infectious diseases and beyond. By successfully leveraging agile development principles and flexible partnering business models, i2020 plans to co-create, grow and graduate multiple drug discovery programs. []

About University of Turku

The University of Turku, established in 1920, is located in southwestern Finland and is the third largest university in the country. It is an active academic community of 25000 students and personnel. UTU is an internationally competitive university whose operations are based on high-quality, multidisciplinary research. It promotes entrepreneurial attitude and the active use of research in collaboration with business. []

About ChemDiv

ChemDiv is a recognized global leader in drug discovery solutions. Over the past 29 years ChemDiv has delivered hundreds of leads, drug candidates and new drugs in the area of CNS, oncology, virology, inflammation, cardiometabolic and immunology, to pharma, biotech and academic partners around the globe. []

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Torrey Pines Investment
Ronald Demuth

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SOURCE i2020