Metrion Biosciences and LifeArc extend ion channel drug discovery collaboration to accelerate neuroscience-focused research

Initial twelve month collaboration successfully identifies hit compounds and progresses into hit-to-lead optimisation phase

Metrion Biosciences
Dec 6, 2019

Metrion Biosciences Limited (Metrion), the specialist ion channel CRO and drug discovery company, and LifeArc, a leading UK independent medical research charity, today announced an extension of their neuroscience-focused ion channel drug discovery collaboration, following the success of the initial twelve-month agreement. 

The collaboration is focused on novel selective small molecular modulators of a specific two-pore domain potassium ion channel target, identified as likely to be involved in neurological pathogenesis. Having commenced in January 2019, both companies have exercised the option to extend the programme for a further 12 months following the achievement of mutually agreed criteria. As a result of successes during the initial phase, where potent and efficacious hit compounds have been identified through a robust screening cascade (using a fluorescence assay, automated electrophysiology and manual patch clamp technique), the collaboration has now progressed into the hit-to-lead optimisation phase. 

Under the terms of the agreement LifeArc is responsible for all new chemical syntheses, with Metrion providing ion channel screening expertise. Metrion will continue to support target optimisation using the company’s extensive experience of developing validated screening assays for use against specific neuronal ion channels, or in a range of translational phenotypic disease-relevant assays, to thoroughly explore mechanism of action. 

Dr Edward Stevens, Head of Drug Discovery, Metrion Biosciences, said: “The extension of this collaboration is testament to the achievements of the combined team to date, and to our long-standing successful relationship with LifeArc. We are excited to be moving forward for an additional twelve months and progress the project to further advance research in this important field of neuroscience.” 

Dr Justin Bryans, Executive Director, Drug Discovery, LifeArc, commented: “We are dedicated to supporting promising research that could have transformative benefits for patients. The success to date of this novel small molecule programme with Metrion is very motivating, especially as this lies in one of our three priority therapy areas. We have a strong track record with Metrion, and we look forward to the next twelve months’ collaboration.” 

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