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16 February 2018

Lab150 connects to first project

Launched by Mars Innovation and Evotec last year, Lab150 has now selected the first project to receive funding.

Author: Thierry Heles, editor

Lab150, a collaboration between commercialisation firm Mars Innovation and drug discovery company Evotec to drive research translation, yesterday identified its first project after launching in September 2017.

The size of the investment has not been confirmed.

The project relates to kallikrein-targeting compounds that have the potential to become a treatment for Netherton syndrome, a rare but severe inflammatory skin disease.

Symptoms include itchiness, a high absorption rate of substances such as lotions by the skin, an abnormal amount of dead skin cells being shed and obstructing the ear canal, fragile hair and an impaired ability to regulate body temperature.

The researchers are also hoping to develop a therapy for atopic dermatitis, a type of eczema that makes the skin itchy and is a chronic condition. It is currently incurable, though treatments exist to reduce outbreaks and relieve itching.

Kallikreins form part of the skin’s outer layer. The project is exploiting research led by Eleftherios Diamandis at Mount Sinai Hospital, part of Sinai Health System in Toronto, who showed that excessive activity of kallikreins is a crucial factor in developing skin inflammation.

The team, which also includes Ioannis Prassas and Antoninus Soosaipillai, has identified several inhibitors following a series of drug screening activities.

Diamandis said: “We are very excited to team up with renowned partners like Evotec and Mars Innovation under the Lab150 partnership. Access to capital, Evotec’s world-class drug discovery infrastructure and Mars Innovation’s commercialisation expertise is a recipe for success.”

Rafi Hofstein, president and CEO of Mars Innovation, said: “We are excited to propel this project through Lab150 – an important bridge for our members. The outcome of the project out of the Diamandis lab is a potential game changer for the health of many children, with stellar foundational scientific technology to be the inaugural Lab150 project.”

Werner Lanthaler, chief execuitve of Evotec, said: “Following the positive outcome of further drug discovery efforts that are conducted jointly at Evotec and at Dr Diamandis’ lab, the foundation of a new company is planned in order to make these therapies available to patients in the most efficient and effective manner through Lab150.”

Hofstein and Lanthaler previously co-authored a guest comment for Global University Venturing taking an in-depth look at the creation and goals of Lab150 in December 2017.

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