CAMBRIDGE, U.K.—Metrion Biosciences, a specialist ion channel contract research and drug discovery company, recently announced it has been awarded £637,000 funding under the Innovate UK Biomedical Catalyst Primer Award scheme. The funding will be used to support further research on orally available potassium channel inhibitors for treatment of psoriasis, a common auto-immune disease for which improved treatments are much needed.
The project commenced in September, focusing on the further optimization of a set of key compounds, and their characterization in disease relevant models. The compounds are taken from the portfolio acquired by Metrion in January this year of more than 2,000 small-molecule inhibitors of a voltage-gated potassium channel known to be involved in the development of auto-immune disease. Metrion has already confirmed the potent in-vitro activity of the selected key compounds, and has filed a new patent application covering a series of these active drug leads.
If successful, the project may lead to the selection of one or more novel oral drug candidates suitable for development as potential new therapeutics for the treatment of psoriasis and other autoimmune disorders.
Psoriasis is a long-lasting autoimmune disease which affects more than 100 million people worldwide, characterized by patches of abnormal skin, which are typically red, dry, itchy and scaly. There exists a low level of satisfaction with existing treatment standards, with 57 percent of oral and 45 percent of biologic therapy recipients discontinuing therapy for reasons of safety/tolerability or lack/loss of efficacy.