CuroNZ is a clinical stage biotechnology company with a patent portfolio and platform of peptide / peptidomimetic drugs relevant for the treatment of severe neurodegenerative diseases.
Discovery of Neural Regeneration Peptides (NRPs)
Our Chief Scientist, Dr Frank Sieg discovered a novel mammalian gene family consisting of four genes in the human genome. These encoding proteins / peptides have very potent and highly efficacious properties which will be important for the treatment of unmet medical needs in the area of neurodegenerative diseases. The first NRP compound was discovered during a phenotypic brain tissue culture screen. In an unprecedented way the neurons started travelling (migrating) from one brain tissue to another one (both tissue positioned on one coverslip and fixed by fibrin clot – see figure below) over several millimetres when having been contacted by the purified NRPs.
The shortest identified amino sequence still maintaining all of the important neuroregenerative / neuroprotective activities has been selected as the lead sequence, called NRP2945. This particular peptide sequence (11-mer) has been chemically modified by the introduction of a non-natural amino acid into the peptide sequence chain to confer superior “shelf-life” stability, an important feature for a drug candidate.
NRP2945’s unique properties include:
- Initiation of neuronal proliferation and migration (also called neurogenesis)
- Promotion of cellular differentiation (including outgrowth of electrically active nerve fibres)
- Cellular survival-enhancing activity as measured in neurons and oligodendrocytes that have been submitted to severe oxidative / excitotoxic stress
These compounds are now in the late stage of preclinical development. With our highly experienced neuroscientists, advisors and the other team members we intend to develop our drugs with the highest possible benefit to cost ratio. Dr Sieg was formerly the Principal Scientist/Team Leader of Gene Discovery and In vitro Systems at Neuren Pharmaceuticals Ltd where he headed the drug development program over a period of 7 years.
Our ultimate aim is to contribute to the development of effective treatments for some of the most seriously debilitating central nervous system diseases and conditions.