Ascenion Obtains Equity in Kinaris Biomedicals

(PresseBox) ( Munich/Germany, )
Ascenion GmbH received shares in Kinaris Biomedicals GmbH, a start-up company dedicated to the design and development of novel drugs targeting cellular motor proteins. The approach builds on results from a collaboration project between the Hanover Medical School (MHH) and the Technical University Dresden (TUD). Using the MHH's expertise in high resolution structure analysis and the TUD's know how in assay development and organic chemistry, the scientists identified a new binding site on myosin as promising therapeutic target and generated a range of small molecule inhibitors and activators as potential therapeutic leads. Corresponding patent applications were jointly filed by the MHH and the TUD.

Myosins are prominent motor proteins found in virtually all eukaryotic cells driving a broad range of movements such as cell motility, muscular contraction, cytokinesis, membrane trafficking and signal transduction. Some myosins are also involved in the development of diseases such as cancer, malaria, cardiovascular diseases or diseases of the central nervous system. "The idea of targeting them for therapeutic purposes appears compelling. Yet the development of myosin modulators with sufficient specificity and efficacy has proved to be quite challenging," Ralf Cordes, Technology Manager of Ascenion, explains. "However, using the newly identified myosin binding site, Kinaris has best prospects to overcome these limitations". Potential applications are broad. Among others, the team explores the specific inhibition of human myosins over-expressed in tumour cells with an invasive phenotype. Further projects address myosins that are responsible for scarring following a heart attack or myosins that trigger the invasion of malaria-causing parasites.

"This is the first MHH spin-out we have helped get off the ground since we started to work with the MHH as exclusive technology transfer partner," Christian Stein, CEO of Ascenion comments. "Together with several licensing deals we have mediated on behalf of the MHH, it underlines the outstanding contribution MHH researchers make to medical progress."

Ascenion will consult Kinaris as coach and sparring partner through all stages of corporate growth and take a seat on the company's supervisory board. Currently, the partners are in process of structuring a collaboration agreement with the MHH providing Kinaris with continued access to the MHH's expertise and infrastructure which is needed for the validation and further development of its myosin modulators.

Proceeds from a future sale of Ascenion's shares will be passed on to the Life-Science Foundation for the Promotion of Science and Research, which then distributes the funds to appropriate public research projects in Germany.
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