Oncodesign and Servier Hit First Milestone in Developing LRRK2 Inhibitors for Parkinson’s

Marisa Wexler, MS avatar

by Marisa Wexler, MS |

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Oncodesign and Servier have reached the first key milestone months ahead of schedule in their partnership to develop LRRK2 inhibitors for Parkinson’s disease, the companies announced in a press release.

“The collaboration works perfectly and both teams are up to the challenges,” said Philippe Genne, PhD, Oncodesign’s founder and CEO. “The results were obtained sooner than expected which allowed us to reach our first milestone several months in advance.”

Mutations in the gene leucine rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) are one of the most common genetic causes of Parkinson’s disease. Furthermore, even when there isn’t a disease-causing mutation, the LRRK2 protein tends to be overly active in the brains of people with Parkinson’s. This abnormally high activation causes problems in the molecular machinery that brain cells use to recycle proteins, which is thought to be involved in Parkinson’s by promoting the abnormal aggregation of proteins such as alpha-synuclein.

Preclinical research has suggested that blocking LRRK2 activity could be therapeutic in Parkinson’s disease, and such investigational therapies are in early clinical trials.

Servier and Oncodesign entered into a partnership to design new LRRK2 inhibitors in March 2019. The partnership involves the use of Nanocyclix, a proprietary technology owned by Oncodesign, which facilitates the discovery of small molecules that can block the activity of protein kinases such as LRRKs.

“Reaching this first important milestone in such a challenging program speaks to the potential of the Nanocyclix series of molecules that we pursue,” said Jan Hoflack, PhD, scientific director at Oncodesign. “[T]heir potency and selectivity within very small molecular weight compounds are ideal assets for this difficult CNS [central nervous system] program. It also speaks to the highly collaborative approach between Servier and Oncodesign.”

Hitting the first milestone triggered a payment of 1 million euros (about $1.08 million USD) to Oncodesign.

“We are very pleased with the rapid progress we have made together with Oncodesign in this collaborative program, with a very efficient and dynamic joint team, and look forward to continuing success over the coming years to reach our common goal of bringing a new treatment for patients,” said Christophe Thurieau, executive director of the Servier Research Institute.

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