A biotech startup aims to reverse mitochondrial dysfunction to halt the progression of degenerative diseases.
Longevity biotech startup MitoRx Therapeutics announced today that it has secured seed funding to continue its development of mitochondria-protective therapies with the potential to “stop the progression of degenerative diseases.” The company said the round will be used to fund the development of its preclinical proof-of-concept platform and explore research collaborations and partnerships.
MitoRx has not officially disclosed the size of the funding round. According to financial data firm Pitchbook, the company has raised approximately $2.1 million to date.
Longevity.Technology: Mitochondria are the energy generators within our cells. They are one of the key factors in the aging process and their dysfunction is linked to a wide range of age-related diseases. By harnessing a key mechanism related to sulfide signaling, MitoRx aims to reverse mitochondrial dysfunction to halt the decline of muscular dystrophy and neurodegeneration.
MitoRx’s approach is based on science developed by its co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Dr Matt Whiteman, Professor of Experimental Therapeutics at the University of Exeter, who pioneered targeted sulfide donor technology on the mitochondria.
Mitochondrial dysfunction and disease
Whiteman and co-workers recently demonstrated the complete reversal of strength loss due to mitochondrial dysfunction in a C.elegans model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. They also demonstrated neuroprotection in a mammalian model of Alzheimer’s disease, through the restoration of sulfide signaling.
“Multiple publications since 2014 have proven beyond doubt that transsulfuration dysfunction is a hallmark of several progressive rare diseases and broad indications as part of a common pathophysiology preventing leakage of mitochondrial dysfunction,” says Whiteman. “MitoRx Therapeutics’ approach reverses this mitochondrial dysfunction, allowing us to overcome mitochondria-induced disease states that lead to muscle weakness, muscle wasting, cognitive impairment, and neurodegeneration.”
Professor Hideo Kimura of Sanyo-Onoda City University in Japan is considered the father of the field of sulfide signaling and said: “One year after celebrating the 25th anniversary of our paper discovering that hydrogen sulfide was a signaling molecule in the brain, it is satisfying to finally hail the emergence of the biotech company that seeks to treat diseases of impaired sulfur signaling.
Extensive pipeline already established
Thanks to a licensing agreement with the University of Exeter, MitoRx already has a therapeutic pipeline of several small molecule candidates for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), CBS deficiency and Huntington’s disease. The company also claims to have programs in Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, sarcopenia, cancer cachexia, COPD and IPF.
“I am delighted to have this opportunity to use Professor Whiteman’s groundbreaking mitochondrial research to develop new drugs for indications where there is a long-standing clinical need,” said Dr. Norman Law, CTO of MitoRx. . “Notably, we already have data for our compounds in additional therapeutic areas such as respiratory and dermatology, which we would seek to partner or out-license, as we focus on advancing our targeted therapy pipeline. on mitochondria for degenerative diseases.
The company also announced the appointment of Glyn Edwards MBE as Chairman. Edwards has industry experience developing therapies for Duchenne muscular dystrophy and advancing them to late-stage clinical trials.
“I have long been fascinated by how reversing mitochondrial dysfunction could halt the progression of degenerative diseases, which place a heavy burden on patients and healthcare systems,” said Dr. Jon Rees, CEO of MitoRx. “We are the first biotechnology to address the dysfunction of sulfide signaling, a fundamental element of the energy systems of life. I am also delighted to welcome Glyn to the team whose wealth of experience will be a great asset as we accelerate our new pipeline of small molecule mitochondrial protective therapies to the clinic.
The round has been backed by numerous investors, including the UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund, Wren Capital, Longevitytech.fund, The Fink Family Office, Science Angel Syndicate Network, Oxford Technology Management, as well as angel investors.