Evotec awarded grant for alpha-synuclein research in Parkinson’s disease

February 2, 2016 – FRANKFURT. Evotec AG has been awarded a research grant from The Michael J. Fox Foundation (“MJFF”) to further develop Evotec’s TargetaSN (Targetalpha-synuclein) programme for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

The grant from MJFF supports the development of a highly sensitive assay to quantify the amount of the alpha-synuclein protein in human nerve cells. Mutations in the alpha-synuclein gene are known to cause Parkinson’s disease, and the hallmark pathology of the disease, including in idiopathic patients, is aggregates of alpha-synuclein called Lewy bodies. Reducing the levels of mutated alpha-synuclein protein in the brain of Parkinson’s disease patients is a promising treatment approach.

Dr Kuldip Dave, Director of Research Programs at MJFF commented: “Alpha-synuclein is a primary target both for Parkinson’s drug development and biomarker research. Reliable tools to measure this protein, such as is being developed by Evotec, will help us better understand the course of disease, monitor its progression more closely and test new therapies more efficiently.”

Dr Cord Dohrmann, Chief Scientific Officer of Evotec, stated: “We are delighted about the support of MJFF for our TargetaSN programme, which is part of a larger Evotec initiative to address neurodegenerative diseases through highly innovative approaches involving patient-derived stem cells and genetically validated mechanisms. Within this initiative, we systematically explore mechanisms that have been validated through human genetics in the context of patient-derived neuronal cells. This approach is expected to lead to the identification of novel targets and compounds with a higher probability to become effective treatments compared to conventional approaches.”