Demuris and Newcastle University enter into Funded Collaboration with Morningside Ventures

Focused on the development of novel therapeutics for mitochondrial diseases.

Newcastle, UK – 2 August 2019 – The Wellcome Centre for Mitochondrial Research (WCMR) at Newcastle University and Demuris Limited have entered into a collaboration agreement related to the development of novel therapies to treat mitochondrial diseases. This agreement is funded by Morningside Ventures and is an expansion of an earlier arrangement between WCMR and Demuris, which was also funded by Morningside.

Under the earlier agreement, extracts from the Demuris actinomycete strain collection were screened in a range of cell types for their ability to stimulate mitochondrial proliferation. The current agreement will support continuation of this research with the aim of developing lead compounds with the potential to become therapeutics for treatment of mitochondrial disease.

Mitochondrial diseases are chronic, genetic disorders that occur when mitochondria fail to produce enough energy for the body to function correctly. Within cells, mitochondria are the power source of the cell, supplying over 90% of its energy. More than one in 5,000 individuals have mitochondrial disease, which is responsible for a broad range of conditions including heart, liver and kidney disease, diabetes and neurological problems.

About the WCMR – Established in 2012, the WCMR integrates basic and clinical mitochondrial research to prevent and cure mitochondrial disease. The group is committed to applying its world-class understanding of mitochondrial gene expression, disease transmission and mechanism of action to support development of therapies. These therapies aim to benefit patients with mitochondrial disease as well as those with other, common chronic diseases where mitochondrial dysfunction plays a role.

The WCMR has developed key knowledge and technologies required for the development of therapies in this area. Close links with the NHS Service for Rare Mitochondrial Disorders of Adults and Children enables research to move from the lab and into the clinical environment through, for example, the design and management of clinical trials. The group is able to support compound screening, lead identification and drug development activities through its access to various cell lines including a patient-derived iPSC line; human bone osteosarcoma cells; and human immortalised leukemia cells.

About Morningside – Morningside, founded in 1986, is a diversified investment company with portfolio investments in private equity, biotech, and technology ventures. The group invests actively in discoveries based on novel science.

About Demuris – Demuris is a spin out company from Newcastle University, founded by Prof. Jeff Errington, Director of Newcastle University’s Centre for Bacterial Cell Biology (CBCB) – the world’s foremost research centre focused on fundamental studies of bacterial cells.

Demuris has developed proprietary technologies to enhance the discovery and optimization of bioactive compounds from natural sources. This includes its Turbolibrary platform for generating vast numbers of novel, bioactive compounds from previously silent biosynthetic gene clusters. This system is being applied on Demuris’ internal collection of rare taxonomically-sifted actinomycete bacteria obtained from all over the world and from a vast range of diverse environments.

Demuris has also developed the 3G Platform of advanced genomics and informatics technologies which enable fast and cost-effective transition from Hit to Drug Lead by rapid dereplication/prioritization of leads, identification of natural analogues and rapid and efficient compound production.

Demuris is developing lead compounds to address major disease area problems in oncology, mitochondrial disease and drug resistant infectious diseases in partnership with various collaborators and partners.

Demuris Contact: Claire Ellis

Newcastle University Contact: Dr Matt Abbott