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New drug discovery company for Alzheimer's research

Posted on 04/03/2013

CoCo Therapeutics Ltd created to progress retinoic acid receptor alpha agonist for Alzheimer’s Disease

King’s College London, The Wellcome Trust and Advent Venture Partners today announced the formation of a new UK biotechnology company, CoCo Therapeutics Ltd, to progress the research of Professor Jonathan Corcoran into the development of new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.

The company builds on the success of research funded through the Wellcome Trust’s Seeding Drug Discovery initiative investigating the role of the retinoic acid receptor, RAR-alpha, and molecules that act on it in Alzheimer’s disease.

The Neuroscience Drug Discovery Unit at King’s, led by Professor Corcoran, has been optimising compounds for treatment of CNS disorders since 2008. The group has previously shown that molecules that act on RAR-alpha can affect multiple parts of the Alzheimer’s disease pathway and therefore have the potential to produce an effective therapy that would otherwise need several points of intervention from different drugs. CoCo Therapeutics Ltd will now take forward the lead compound into late-stage preclinical studies and clinical trials, which is the next step towards assessing whether the approach has any therapeutic benefit in patients.

Funding to launch and progress CoCo Therapeutics has been provided by Advent Venture Partners, one of Europe's most successful venture capital investors in market-leading technology and life sciences businesses.  Dr Raj Parekh, General Partner at Advent, will be the Founding Chairman of the new company.

Professor Jonathan Corcoran, director of the Neuroscience Drug Discovery Unit at King’s College London, said: 'I am delighted to be working with Advent on this project. Our research has shown early promise in this area and this partnership will enable us to progress the work further. This is an exciting step forward in the search for effective Alzheimer's disease treatments.'

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common cause of dementia, affecting around 5.3 million people in the US, 417,000 people in the UK and many millions of others worldwide.  It is estimated that this incidence will more than double by 2050, should current trends continue.

Notes to Editors

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About The Wellcome Trust
The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health. It supports the brightest minds in biomedical research and the medical humanities. The Trust’s breadth of support includes public engagement, education and the application of research to improve health. It is independent of both political and commercial interests.

About Advent Venture Partners
Advent Life Sciences is the dedicated Life Sciences team at Advent Venture Partners, one of Europe’s best established venture capital firms.  Advent Life Sciences invests predominantly in early-stage and growth equity life sciences companies in the UK, Europe and the US.  It will back companies that have a first- or best-in-class approach in a range of sectors within the life sciences sector, including new drug discovery, enabling technologies, med-tech and diagnostics.
Advent Life Sciences is a leader in European life sciences venture capital.  Its investments include:  PowderMed, a therapeutic DNA vaccine company sold to Pfizer; Thiakis, an obesity treatment company acquired by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals; Respivert, a drug discovery company focused on respiratory diseases that was acquired by Johnson & Johnson; EUSA Pharma, a transatlantic speciality pharmaceutical company acquired by Jazz Pharmaceuticals; Avila Therapeutics, a biotechnology company developing targeted covalent drugs acquired by Celgene Corporation, Micromet, a biotechnology company acquired by Amgen and Algeta (OSE: ALGETA), an oncology company developing treatments for bone metastases and disseminated tumours.

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