$500,000 Fox Foundation Grant Goes to Yumanity’s YTX-7739 Research

Yedida Y Bogachkov PhD avatar

by Yedida Y Bogachkov PhD |

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Yumanity Therapeutics has been awarded a $500,000 research grant from the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) to help accelerate testing of an investigational Parkinson’s disease therapy, YTX-7739.

“MJFF is a globally recognized advocate and supporter of innovative research toward new treatments to stop Parkinson’s and ease symptoms,” Dan Tardiff, vice president of translational research at Yumanity and principal investigator on the grant, said in a press release.

“We are proud to be recognized by the awarding of this grant as a contributor to the urgent pursuit of a cure for Parkinson’s disease,” Tardiff added.

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Tardiff and his team will be furthering their investigation into the efficacy and biomarker development of YTX-7739, a small-molecule investigational therapy for Parkinson’s.

YTX-7739 is an oral therapy that can cross the blood-brain barrier — the semipermeable barrier that protects the brain and spinal cord from the outside environment — and is designed to modify the disease state by inhibiting the activity of the enzyme stearoyl-CoA desaturase (SCD).

This enzyme is involved in the production of certain fatty acids that are thought to mediate the effects of alpha-synuclein, the protein that builds inside nerve cells to toxic levels in Parkinson’s.

Preclinical data in a Parkinson’s mouse model showed that treatment with YTX-7739 led to improved neuronal survival and improved motor function.

Later, results from a Phase 1b clinical trial (NL9172) revealed that administering YTX-7739 in patients with mild to moderate Parkinson’s safely inhibits the SCD enzyme.

According to the company, data from this trial will help inform a Phase 2 clinical trial that is expected to start this year.

This MJFF grant, the company says, also serves to validate Yumanity’s approach to therapy discovery, which concentrates on correcting the disease processes driven by misfolded proteins.

Yumanity’s proprietary platforms identify novel biological targets, which, when altered, correct the toxicities started by the protein misfolding, as seen with the misfolded alpha-synuclein-associated toxicity in Parkinson’s.

“Development of effective treatments for neurodegenerative disease has been challenging in the past when there was a lack of deep understanding of the underlying pathophysiological processes of these diseases,” said Paulash Mohsen, chief business officer of Yumanity.

“Our target discovery engine is designed to reveal these processes and identify targets for therapeutic intervention. We are very gratified to further validate the strength of our platform through our collaborations with … the Michael J. Fox Foundation and look forward to their future progress,” Mohsen added.