UCL News


Business funding and prize lecture for amyloidosis expert

3 October 2007


uclb.com/" target="_self">UCL Business
  • Royal College of Physicians
  • Professor Mark Pepys
  • Pentraxin Therapeutics Ltd, a spin-out company created by UCL Business and headed by Professor Mark Pepys (Head of Medicine at the Hampstead Campus and the Royal Free Hospital), has been awarded a grant of £3.89 million in conjunction with UCL.

    The grant is to develop a drug to target a protein called transthyretin for the treatment and prevention of hereditary systemic transthyretin amyloidosis, otherwise known as familial amyloid polyneuropathy, and senile cardiac amyloidosis, which is also caused by transthyretin. The company was founded in 2001 with the aim of commercialising the intellectual property and proprietary knowledge emanating from Professor Pepys's research work at UCL.

    Building on the pioneering research conducted by Professor Pepys and his collaborators, the research team will be working on the development of drugs which could offer real hope in the fight against these largely untreatable and usually fatal diseases.

    Under the Wellcome Trust's Seeding Drug Discovery Initiative, UCL and Pentraxin have been tasked with the development of a novel drug, building on the work already carried out by Professor Pepys's team. The funding will be used to develop the drug to clinical trial stage.

    "We are greatly encouraged by the rigorous scientific endorsement of our novel strategy which has been provided by the Wellcome Trust" says Professor Pepys.

    "Their generous funding will enable our multi-skilled team to make rapid progress with the promising leads and original ideas which we have already created. We hope that the outcome will be an effective treatment for a very significant unmet medical need."

    The award is another endorsement for Pentraxin Therapeutics Ltd, which has separate drug development programmes in progress for treatment of systemic amyloidosis, Alzheimer's disease, osteoarthritis, myocardial infarction and stroke.

    "We are delighted to be able to facilitate the development of this important and much needed research" says Dr Ted Bianco, Director of Technology Transfer at the Wellcome Trust.

    "New treatments for amyloid diseases are urgently needed and the group lead by Professor Pepys has an impressive record of achievement in this area".

    Professor Mark Pepys has also been nominated to give the Harveian Oration at the Royal College of Physicians on the 18th October at 5.30 pm. This is one of the oldest and most important lectures in the calendar of the Royal College of Physicians. Anyone interested in attending the lecture should email Paula Crosier.

    To find out more about UCL Business, the Royal College of Physicians and Professor Pepys, use the links at the top of the article.