Keapstone Therapeutics secures further €1,1 million investment from Parkinson’s UK

24 September 2018

Keapstone Therapeutics is preparing to make the next steps in clinical candidate selection and first-in-human studies. This investment brings the total seed investment to € 2,4 million. Last year Parkinson’s UK together with Sheffield University launched the virtual biotech Keapstone Therapeutics to further develop compounds that boost the internal cellular defence mechanisms against oxidative stress to combat neurogenerative diseases. These compounds were discovered by IMI’s European Lead Factory. 

Currently 1.2 million people in Europe are affected by Parkinson’s disease. This devastating condition is causing an enormous economic and social burden. Although a lot of research has been directed towards this neurodegenerative disease, it remains incurable. Keapstone Therapeutics, a virtual biotech company established by the charity Parkinson’s UK and the University of Sheffield, aims to change that. Keapstone Therapeutics is developing small ‘drug-like’ molecules who trigger a possible built-in defense system that boost the protection against neurodegenerative diseases.

“What was attractive about the data package from ELF was that it was generated based on industrial standards” Dr Jan Kulagowski, Drug Discovery Manager at Parkinson’s UK.

Parkinson's UK aims to improve the lives of people with Parkison’s disease. There are no effective treatments for motor neuron disease and while current Parkinson’s disease treatments help to manage symptoms they cannot slow or stop the progression of the condition. Recent research estimates that Parkinson’s currently affects 6.9 million people across the globe and this number is expected to more than double to over 14 million people by 2040.

Keapstone Therapeutics, established in 2017, is the first of its kind. The company combines world-leading research from the University of Sheffield with funding and expertise from Parkinson’s UK to develop new treatments.

Read the testimonial of Jan Kulagowski, Drug Discovery Manager at Parkinson’s UK, about the added value of the European Lead Factory.

Read the press release from KeapstoneTherapeutics.

Figure 1: Activation of the transcription factor protein, NFE2-related factor 2 (NRF2) drives expression of a battery of genes via its interaction with the antioxidant response element (ARE). This has the the potential to improve redox balance, alleviate mitochondrial dysfunction, increase mitochondrial biogenesis, enhance autophagy and reduce inflammation. This is a novel approach to combat neurodegenerative diseases.