Press release

BioCloud will develop a pioneer project on inflammatory neurodegenerative diseases
The BioCloud Research Consortium –an Economic Interest Group (EIG), formed by four companies based at the Barcelona Science Park –Intelligent Pharma, Neurotec Pharma, PaloBiofarma and SOM Biotech– has received a 300,000€ grant through ACC1Ó´s Technological Innovation Clusters programme and co-funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
The grant is to conduct the project entitled ‘Discovery of new treatments for neurodegenerative disorders by means of new computerised chemical applications'.

The purpose of this project –which has a budget of 750,989 € and a duration of two years– is to develop a new system for pharmaceutical screening to identify new molecules with therapeutic activity on disorders of the central nervous system (CNS), which might serve as candidates for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases that are accompanied by chronic brain inflammation.
Chronic brain inflammation is related to the pathogenesis and progression of a wide range of diseases of the CNS, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease or Huntington's disease, among others. In this regard, members of BioCloud will identify new drugs that act on a specific therapeutic target: the activity of microglial cells. These cells represent the first line of defense of the central nervous system and their chronic activation may be the cause of these diseases, or play a major role in the progression and consequences.

The identification of compounds with inhibitory or modulating activity of microglia and validation of its efficacy in vitro and in vivo may represent the first step towards the conductance of future clinical trials in some of these neurodegenerative diseases, which will be an important advance in the treatment of these pathologies.

BioCloud Research´s approach to the project will be two-fold: first, it will focus on the design of new active molecules (de novo drugs) and then on the identification and validation of drugs already marketed by achieving one or several newly synthesized molecules or repositioning (reprofiling) with demonstrated activity in CNS pathologies that are accompanied by chronic brain inflammation.

A very innovative experimental setting for neurodegenerative diseaes

The project is highly technologically complex, combining different disciplines ranging from chemistry and artificial intelligence to cell and animal experimentation aimed at generating products that may eventually be applied to patients.

Intelligent Pharma will develop a new technology called 'Prometheus', which will use evolutionary algorithms to develop computer-designed new drug candidate molecules. Once the virtual screening is carried out, these molecules (virtual hits) will be synthesized by Palo Biofarma. SOM Biotech, for its part, and in collaboration with Intelligent Pharma, will use its own computational technology for drug repositioning. Finally, Neurotec Pharma will evaluate the preclinical efficacy and safety of potential new synthesis drugs and repositioning drugs generated by computational chemistry techniques.

On success of the project, the consortium BioCloud Research will have led to the creation of a unique virtual pharmaceutical drug screening system, initially validated for neurodegenerative diseases of the CNS, but applicable to other fields, and will also have validated a series of drug candidates with therapeutic activity for several neurodegenerative diseases that are not currently covered properly, such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's or Huntington's disease, for which effective drugs were developed only with palliative effects.
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