Selcia, the UK-based contract research organisation that recently extended its international reach with a dedicated facility in the US, has agreed to collaborate with Swedish drug development company NeuroVive Pharmaceutical on generating new compounds targeted at mitochondrial physiology and pathophysiology.

Mitochondria are the “energy-producing powerhouses” of human cells and are a critical component in optimising cellular function and survival as well as initiating cell death, the new partners noted.

Mitochondrial dysfunction has been implicated in acute conditions such as stroke and heart failure, chronic diseases like diabetes, neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer´s disease and in the ageing process.

Financial details of the collaboration were not disclosed. The two companies said they would jointly invest in the initiative, combining Selcia´s expertise in medicinal and analytical chemistry with NeuroVive´s advanced research and development programmes in mitochondrial medicine.

New drugs and supplements

According to Simon Saxby, chief executive officer of Selcia, the partners’ combined resources have the potential to “yield a number of new drugs and supplements that could revolutionise the treatment of diseases caused by mitochondrial dysfunction, as well as recovery regimens for a number of patient populations”.

NeuroVive’s primary focus is on drugs for the treatment of acute brain injury, reperfusion injury in myocardial infarction and other acute injuries where mitochondrial energy production is critical for clinical outcome.

The company’s R&D efforts centre on developing new variants of cyclophilin-D-inhibiting cyclosporins and on studying ways of transporting these drugs across the blood-brain barrier to the central nervous system.

“This collaboration with Selcia will allow us to accelerate the discovery and development of new mitochondrial medicines and drug-like compounds within the scope of our current R&D budget in the discovery phase,” commented NeuroVive’s chief scientific officer, Eskil Elmér.