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Parkinson’s disease cell model boost


Drug discovery facilitator BioFocus, based at the heart of the Cambridge UK medical technology cluster, has received a grant from The Michael J. Fox Foundation to develop novel therapeutics for Parkinson’s disease.

BioFocus will use the unspecified investment to develop a high-throughput, high-content assay platform to support the discovery of targets and agents that break the pathogenic loop between glucocerebrosidase (GBA) and a-synuclein – considered to be a major mechanism leading to Parkinson’s. 

The project is further supported by a new collaboration between BioFocus and Professor Tony Schapira, Institute of Neurology, University College London – a renowned medical researcher in the field. 

Profesor Schapira said: “The link between mutations in the GBA gene and Parkinson’s disease has been affirmed by multiple clinical studies.

“The development of a disease-relevant cell model system to support drug discovery on this mechanism will be a critical asset to the Parkinson’s disease research community.”

Professor Julie Frearson, BioFocus’ senior director for scientific alliances and translational research, added: “This funding will allow BioFocus to continue tackling novel and challenging therapeutic mechanisms in Parkinson’s disease.”