Polish Selvita’s Inflammation Research used to start new Biotech in Scotland

inflammation biotech selvita nodthera

The new Biotech Nodthera will be based in Edinburgh and focus on the discovery and development of novel small molecule candidates to treat inflammation in a range of autoimmune diseases. Founded by Epidarex Capital, it will work alongside Selvita (Poland) in a series of deals worth up to €6.35M.

Selvita nodthera biotech inflammasome The technology behind Nodthera’s focus is built on work conducted by the Polish drug-discovery company, Selvita, which is headquartered in Kraków. Starting out as a CRO, Selvita now operates on a hybrid-model, also working on in-house programs.

On the other hand, Epidarex Capital is an early-stage investor which launched Nodthera on the basis of Selvita’s technology. Now Nodthera has signed 3 deals with Selvita for the commercialisation of its SEL212 program, which was originally launched with $1.1M non-dilutive funding from the EU to get to an IND stage.

The first deal was for the sale of the SEL212A program to Nodthera for around €600K (£0.5M), with more potential post-milestone payments. Secondly, Selvita will swap its SEL212B program for shares in Nodthera up to a value of €2.3M (£1.9M).

Finally, for around €3.5M (£2.8M), Selvita will continue research into the SEL212 program for new drugs, and the program primarily focuses on potentially first-in-class small-molecule inhibitors of the NLRP3 inflammasome.

Here is a more broad introduction to how Inflammasome activation occurs in disease…

Inflammasomes are large multiprotein complexes which assemble in a cell’s cytoplasm in response to environmental danger signals and are considered an essential part of an organism’s innate immune response.

Activation of an inflammasome assembly leads to the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, IL-1 and IL-18. Over-activation of the NRLP3 inflammasome is implicated in a wide range of diseases that are a substantial burden on modern healthcare systems. For example type II diabetes, gout, Rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease and Cancer. 

Until recently, the NLRP3 inflammasome has been a difficult target. However, recent advances and insights from the scientific community has renewed and re-invigorated interest in targeting the NLRP3 inflammasome.

Selvita Nodthera Biotech Inflammasome NLPR3 alzheimer's
Fig. 1 How the NLRP3 inflammasome is involved in inflammation in Alzheimer’s disease (and amyloid-beta plaque).

Selective inhibition of the NLRP3 inflammasome rather than its downstream cytokines holds great therapeutic potential. Nodthera aims to become a key player in developing inhibitors of this protein complex.  

As a key investor in Scottish Biotech (where there is a thriving industry), Epidarex was created to meet the need for more sector-specific risk capital for young companies, including spin-outs from leading research universities.

Just last month, Epidarex also led a €5.5M Series A fundraising for the Glasgow-based Mironid, which is also working on modulators for inflammatory diseases and cancer.

We visited Epidarex Capital on the Labiotech Tour UK…

Figure 1: Guo, H., Callaway, J. & P-Y Ting, J. (2015), Inflammasomes: mechanism of action, role in disease, and therapeutics, Nature Medicine, 21(677–687), doi:10.1038/nm.3893
Feature Image Credit: Pixabay


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