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13 August, 2020 - 15:51 By Tony Quested

Reflection Therapeutics funded to fight motor neurone disease

Innovate UK has injected significant money into a Cambridge company’s campaign to counter motor neurone disease through cell therapy.

It has invested almost £325k – 70 per cent of the project total – as Reflection Therapeutics leads the major new research programme.

Reflection is based at the Babraham Research Campus and is developing cell therapy technology against neuroinflammation across the board.

NHS figures suggest there are about 5,000 people living with a motor neurone disease in the UK. The best current treatment has a survival advantage of three months for patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. 
 
In contrast to existing anti-inflammatory therapies, which are particularly unsuitable for elderly patients, Reflection Therapeutics’ radical new technology guides anti-inflammatory cell therapies directly to the affected tissue – enabling the therapy to work faster and more effectively.

The project, called ‘'Degen-lock', will consist of an 18-month research programme, the objective of which is to pave the way for the manufacturing of the new therapy. 

The award of the competitive grant provides Reflection Therapeutics with expert peer-review endorsement of its research and development vision, whilst also providing the opportunity for the organisation to accelerate its funds for growth. 

The Innovate Smart Grant is crucial in enabling Reflection Therapeutics to further develop its technology and in doing so make the transition from lab research to the development of a pharmaceutical industry approved product, ready for clinical trials. 

The project (costing £464,042 in total, co-funded by existing Reflection Therapeutics investors and Innovate UK) will combine Reflection Therapeutics’ existing research and development team at Babraham and contract research by leading UK-based expert organisations; as well as a collaboration with the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult, the world-leading centre designed to transform the UK’s capability for innovation in advanced manufacturing therapeutic products.

Reflection Therapeutics has made considerable progress in recent months thanks to participation in the [email protected] bioincubator programme and support from Deep Science Ventures. 

Dr Timothy Newton, CEO of Reflection Therapeutics said: “We are extremely pleased to begin this work with the support of Innovate UK to further develop our innovative new ALS therapy.

“ALS is a devastating disease and at Reflection Therapeutics we feel a sense of urgency to provide meaningful and novel treatment options for patients and their families.

“This project, carried out at the Babraham Research Campus, will allow us to develop and test our prototype therapy, allowing us to reach critical pre-clinical milestones on the way towards clinical development.” 

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