Parkinson’s UK Announces New Drug Accelerator Awards

Grants are available for academics based at UK research institutions to enable them to develop novel drugs for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s UK is a charitable organisation that provides a range of support measures and research funding to achieve its aim of finding a cure and improving the quality of life for everyone affected by Parkinson’s disease.

The new Drug Accelerator Awards offered by Parkinson’s UK aim to accelerate and drive forward the development of novel drugs for the treatment of Parkinson’s. It is hoped that the initiative will provide researchers with the opportunity to plug essential gaps in existing datasets to get their projects/compounds ready to enter full scale drug discovery with an industry partner or the Parkinson’s Virtual Biotech (the drug development arm of Parkinson’s UK).

Eligible projects could consist of the following approaches or combination of approaches:

  • Generation of target engagement and neuroprotection efficacy data in highly characterised relevant in vitro models of Parkinson’s, particularly patient derived cell lines.
  • In vitro mechanistic studies to validate mechanism of action, for example, utilising target knock-out/knock-down approaches.
  • Generation of target engagement and neuroprotection efficacy data in highly characterised relevant in vivo models of Parkinson’s, particularly alpha-synuclein based models.
  • Replication of key datasets in independent research facilities to support the robustness of the drug approach.
  • Rodent in vivo pharmacokinetic studies to generate data on the ability of the test compound to penetrate into the brain in sufficient concentrations for target engagement and its metabolic fate.
  • Off target safety screening.
  • Further development of existing assays to show their suitability for a screening programme.
  • In vitro profiling of existing compounds to show scope for further optimisation.

This list is not exhaustive. Projects should have a clear focus on translational drug development.

The scheme is open to academics based at a UK university, NHS trust or other UK research institution or small biotech company (which may be based outside the UK). The principal applicant must have a permanent contract (honorary contract for clinicians) within their institution or must hold a senior position in a biotech company.

The maximum award amount is £50,000 for up to one year. There is no minimum award level. Parkinson’s UK will only reimburse directly incurred research costs for awarded grants.

Application is a two-stage process: pre-proposals followed by invited full applications. Pre-proposal applications must be submitted by the deadline of 10 February 2022. Full applications must be submitted by the deadline of 24 March 2022.

(This report was the subject of a RESEARCHconnect Newsflash.)