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Targeting genetically defined neurodegenerative diseases
PITTSBURGH—Sharp Edge Labs Inc., a drug discovery and development company focused on diseases involving defective protein trafficking, announced Jan. 3 that it had entered into a drug discovery collaboration agreement with Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma Co. Ltd., a global pharmaceutical company which designates psychiatry/neurology and oncology as its focus areas of therapeutic research.
As part of the collaboration, Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma will make its proprietary compound library available to Sharp Edge Labs for use in their drug discovery platform, with a goal of identifying lead compounds and potential development candidates for neurodegenerative disorders.
Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma’s library has been specifically chosen to maximize blood-brain barrier penetration, increasing the chances that any small-molecule lead discovered in the collaboration will have access to the central nervous system (CNS). Sharp Edge Labs’ proprietary biosensor platform will be used to screen for and identify compounds that can correct a trafficking defect known to be involved in several neurodegenerative diseases. Sharp Edge Labs will use their technology to further characterize the cellular mechanism of potential lead compounds including assessing their activity in cells from patients.
“This collaboration takes advantage of the synergy between Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma’s expertise in CNS drug discovery and development, and Sharp Edge’s unique cellular biosensor technology,” said Scott Sneddon, CEO of Sharp Edge Labs. “Defective protein trafficking is a key pathology in neurodegenerative disease, and we’re attacking that problem by screening for compounds that correct that fundamental defect.”
“This agreement is part of a comprehensive strategy to build a broad portfolio of discovery approaches in areas of great unmet medical need and combines a new discovery technology with our established strengths in discovery and development,” said Hideyuki Harada, executive director of the Drug Research Division for Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma. “This is part of our broad-based strategy of investment in both internal and external innovation.”
Sharp Edge Labs focuses on inherited diseases involving defects in protein trafficking, one of the most common cellular defects in genetic disorders. The company’s biosensor platform allows large- scale screening for drugs that restore proper trafficking, creating a streamlined pipeline through preclinical research and lower risk in the clinic. The company has programs in cystic fibrosis, inherited forms of neurodegeneration, muscular dystrophy and non-opioid pain medications.