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  • Writer's pictureLUNAC Therapeutics

LUNAC-led project awarded £3.14 million under Innovate UK Biomedical Catalyst programme

  • 18 month project in collaboration with University of Leeds and Medicines

  • Discovery Catapult will deliver a new compound for treatment of thrombosis

  • Currently available anticoagulants carry high risk of bleeding

Leeds, UK, 02 December 2019: LUNAC Therapeutics (LUNAC), a UK based drug discovery company focused on the identification and development of advanced anticoagulants with minimal bleeding risk, today announced that, along with the Medicines Discovery Catapult and the University of Leeds, it has been awarded £3.14M funding under Innovate UK’s Biomedical Catalyst programme. The funding will be used to develop an innovative anticoagulant treatment with minimal bleeding risk, to better meet patient need.

The 18-month preclinical drug discovery project brings together target biology, disease understanding, and chemistry expertise at LUNAC and the University of Leeds with the Medicines Discovery Catapult’s drug discovery know-how and preclinical imaging expertise.The project aims to develop a first-in-class drug to prevent the formation of a blood clot inside a blood vessel (thrombosis). The organisations will work together to optimise and advance the discovery of a new class of highly specific anticoagulant compounds that block an activated clotting enzyme, Factor XII (FXIIa), for which there is strong evidence that inhibition will not increase the risk of bleeding.

Currently available anticoagulants have a relatively narrow margin between beneficial effects and undesirable bleeding events, including bleeding in the brain or gut which, in some instances, may be fatal. This novel class of compounds would therefore allow more at-risk patients to be treated, and would also enable safe dose escalation in high-risk patients.

Anticoagulation therapy is used for a wide range of conditions including prevention of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation, prevention of venous thromboembolism post-surgery as well as other clinical circumstances. New anticoagulant treatments have the potential to save in excess of £2.7 billion per year, by impacting on bleeding and stroke episodes in Europe alone.

Prof Helen Philippou, Scientific Founder of LUNAC Therapeutics, said: “New anticoagulant treatments are desperately needed. LUNAC’s research has shown that targeting activated Factor XII has the potential to offer a new treatment option for patients, and we are therefore delighted to have secured Biomedical Catalyst funding to help drive this exciting project forward.”

Dr. Peter Simpson, Chief Scientific Officer of Medicines Discovery Catapult, said: “Bringing together deep disease understanding from Leeds and LUNAC with the extensive drug discovery and development experience of the Medicines Discovery Catapult creates an exciting programme with the potential to transform the landscape of anticoagulant treatments, and to impact the lives of patients who rely on such treatments in a meaningful way.”

Mr Andy Duley, Director of Commercialisation, University of Leeds said: “This new collaboration will address the need for anti-clotting therapies with great efficacy and minimal bleeding risk. The differentiation of this approach should eliminate the risk of increased bleeding, marking a step-change in the management of the thrombosis.”

This follows the recent announcement of the spin out of LUNAC from the University of Leeds, with £2.65M funding in the first close of a Series A financing round led by Epidarex Capital, The press release can be found here.

About LUNAC Therapeutics Limited

LUNAC Therapeutics is a spin out from the University of Leeds pursuing the discovery of next generation anticoagulant therapeutics by targeting activated factor XII. Current therapies carry the risk of causing bleeding and LUNAC believes that targeting the coagulation cascade at the level of Factor XII will reduce this risk.

About University of Leeds

The University of Leeds is one of the largest higher education institutions in the UK, with more than 38,000 students from more than 150 different countries, and a member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities. The University plays a significant role in the Turing, Rosalind Franklin and Royce Institutes.

We are a top ten university for research and impact power in the UK, according to the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, and are in the top 100 of the QS World University Rankings 2020. Additionally, the University was awarded a Gold rating by the Government’s Teaching Excellence Framework in 2017, recognising its ‘consistently outstanding’ teaching and learning provision. Twenty-six of our academics have been awarded National Teaching Fellowships – more than any other institution in England, Northern Ireland and Wales – reflecting the excellence of our teaching.

Over a third of our academics are involved in applied research or as consultants to industry, and over the last ten years, the University of Leeds has produced more than 100 ‘spin-out’ companies.

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For more information about the Medicines Discovery Catapult please visit: @MedDiscCat


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