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17 September, 2020 - 11:06 By Tony Quested

Perfect STORM as partners explore role of RNA epigenetics in epilepsy

STORM Therapeutics in Cambridge and Dublin based FutureNeuro have joined forces to explore new treatment options for people with epilepsy.

Anchored at the Babraham Research Campus, STORM is focused on the discovery and development of small molecule therapies modulating RNA epigenetics,

The project will be led by Dr Gary Brennan at University College Dublin and Professor David Henshall of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and will explore if the way epilepsy develops can be prevented or changed.

Dr Brennan and his team will look at the role of a novel form of gene regulation in epilepsy and test if modifying how these cells work can change the progression of the disease.

He said: “We are delighted to enter this exciting partnership with STORM Therapeutics which is leading the way in developing drugs which target the proteins that make RNA modifications. 

“We hope this will lead to new treatments, which can improve the lives of people with epilepsy. This is a very new field and we are excited to see what our studies uncover.” 

This study will build on work Dr. Brennan initiated through a Science Foundation Ireland Starting Investigator Grant (SIRG), where he received funding to set up his own independent research group studying epilepsy. He will initially study this treatment option in temporal lobe epilepsy, the most common form of epilepsy in adults, which is often resistant to drug treatments.

STORM Therapeutics is the leading company currently tackling disease through modulating RNA modifying enzymes and is developing a unique platform and pipeline to address these enzyme classes, including RNA methyltransferases. The company already has strong connections in Ireland as it backed by Irish venture capital firm, Seroba Life Sciences.

Dr Keith Blundy, chief executive officer of STORM Therapeutics said: “We believe in partnering with the best scientists to innovate and create value. This partnership with FutureNeuro to advance RNA modifying treatments is an innovative approach based on novel biology and may have benefits for people with epilepsy.”

The study will run for one year and combines FutureNeuro’s expertise in epilepsy, models of epilepsy and next generation sequencing and STORM Therapeutics’ expertise in drug development and RNA modifications.

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