LifeArc has announced the signing of a deal to license an ion channel drug discovery programme to Daiichi Sankyo.

The deal successfully concludes a research collaboration between LifeArc, Oxford University’s Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences and Daiichi Sankyo, and means that Daiichi Sankyo acquires an exclusive worldwide license to a discovery stage programme of small molecules with the potential to develop into novel treatments for intractable pain.

Small molecules, optimised as part of the programme, are capable of affecting the sensitivity of neurons, showing efficacy in treating pain and will undergo further pre-clinical development under the new license.

Jeff Jerman, principal senior scientist and LifeArc project lead, said: “The small molecule drug candidates modulate the ion channel that underpins pain sensing. LifeArc is using the experience and insight in this ion channel subfamily to explore the therapeutic potential of a range of other channels in the subfamily, including, but not exclusively, for pain.”

LifeArc is a medical research charity with a 25-year legacy of helping scientists and organisations turn their research into treatments and diagnostics for patients, helping to bring together a network of partners to tackle specific diseases and directly fund academic and early stage research.