DiscoveryBioMed, Inc. and Collaborator, Nitor Therapeutics, Announce a Michael J. Fox Foundation Grant for the Development of Hit-to-Lead STING Inhibitors for Parkinson’s Disease

DiscoveryBioMed, Inc. and collaborators are humbled and honored to receive a 2-year grant from the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF). MJFF is a premier private foundation driving cutting-edge research that will yield viable therapeutics for Parkinson’s disease.

The monies are awarded to develop, validate, select and progress hit-to-lead Stimulator of Interferon Genes (STING) inhibitors for Parkinson’s disease. DiscoveryBioMed, Inc. and our collaborator, Nitor Therapeutics led by Dr. Shanta Bantia, are performing in vitro assays currently to determine which hit-to-lead STING inhibitors bind STING directly and which inhibit the STING-associated signal transduction pathway in human immune-relevant cells. Then, we will identify STING inhibitors that are both blood-brain barrier permeant and that are also potent and effective at inhibiting STING and the STING-based signaling pathway in innate immunity-relevant human cells in vitro. This therapeutic approach may quell chronic neuroinflammation in Parkinson’s disease. MJFF funded the program and has already provided sage advice in the beginnings of the project. Later term, bioavailability of our lead STING inhibitors in the central nervous system (CNS) will be determined, and critical proof-of-concept efficacy testing in a mutant alpha-synuclein over-expression model of Parkinson’s disease in the brain of mice will be performed with a lead STING inhibitor. In addition to Dr. Bantia as a paid consultant, Dr. David G. Standaert, MD, PhD, John N. Whitaker Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurology at the UAB Heersink School of Medicine is also advising DBM on this project as a world expert on Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders that affect movement.

“We are honored to be funded and working with MJFF. The experience working with MJFF has already been helpful, and we are excited to identify a lead STING inhibitor as a potential Parkinson’s disease therapeutic,” declared Dr. Erik Schwiebert, DBM’s CEO and Chief Scientific Officer, and Dr. John Streiff, DBM’s Chief Chemistry Officer. “Our chemical series are distinct from nucleosides and nucleotides that have been classical STING ligands in past efforts.”

The discovery of multiple hit-to-lead chemical classes of STING inhibitors was funded by a successful Phase 1 SBIR award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and its National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID). A potential Phase 2 SBIR award is pending possible funding.

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