Novel dementia treatment uses transmembrane proteins

Voltage-gated ion channels will tackle a different subtype of potassium channel regulation of synapse function

Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst, housing Autifony

Developers of treatments for disorders of the central nervous system, Autifony Therapeutics, will develop a novel dementia treatment.

The company will use voltage-gated ion channel field to tackle a different subtype of potassium channel, which has been implicated in Alzheimer’s disease and potentially other dementias, through regulation of synapse function.

Synaptic function is impaired early in the course of the disease. Drugs that target this previously unexplored ion channel have potential to improve symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and also to be disease modifying.

Voltage-gated ion channels are a class of transmembrane proteins that form ion channels activated by changes in the electrical membrane potential near the channel.

Ordinarily, the open conformation of the ion channel allows for the translocation of ions across the cell membrane, while the closed conformation does not.

The funding

Autifony has been granted £1.3 million in funding from Innovate UK and the Dementia Discovery Fund (DDF) to explore novel approach to treatment of dementia.

Charles Large, Chief Executive Officer of Autifony, said: “We are excited to be using our expertise in ion channel drug discovery for a research programme in an area of such huge unmet medical need – dementia is one of the largest problems facing our society in the 21st century.”

The company has received £895,000 funding from the Biomedical Catalyst and £400,000 from the DDF.

Tetsu Maruyama, Chief Scientific Officer of DDF said: “DDF’s mission is to ensure that new and original opportunities to treat dementias receive the resources that can enable their success.

“Autifony have an innovative approach to dementia discovery that could kickstart a rapid discovery with real potential to deliver relief to millions of patients.”

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