collaborationSynAging announces the extension of its drug discovery collaboration with Actelion Pharmaceuticals in neurodegenerative diseases. The extension was signed recently to develop multiple lead series targeting a non-disclosed G protein-coupled receptor to stop neuronal apoptosis.

The collaboration started in December 2010 with the aim of discovering neuroprotective small molecules for the treatment of age-related neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, for which SynAging has unique scientific expertise and models. The joint lead optimization process of the collaboration extension aims to deliver orally active molecules for clinical development.

SynAging has provided the target and relevant accompanying insights into disease biology and pharmacology to the collaboration and will participate in the upside of the project. Following joint target directed high-throughput screening and hit evaluation, the specificity and biological validation of lead compounds is performed in SynAging’s phenotypic models.

In contrast to most competing disease models, SynAging does not rely on transgenic models, but uses proprietary preparations of low number oligomers, such as amyloid beta peptides, to induce neurodegeneration. Compounds that prove positive in SynAging’s in vitro phenotypic test system are validated for their on target activity and mode of action. Further validation is then performed in in vivo models at SynAging.

Dr Thierry Pillot, CEO of SynAging, said: “The current contract extension shows that SynAging has delivered on its promises and that Actelion agrees that the accomplishments justify further investment. The extension of the collaboration with Actelion will permit us to develop and test our ideas of novel targets and disease-fighting mechanisms. Something we could not pursue on our own, as our focus remains to become an internationally recognized CRO.