It is estimated that over 6 million people suffer from Parkinson’s
Disease worldwide. The disease is caused by loss of brain cells in a part of
the brain called substantia nigra, which produces dopamine. As the cells die,
less dopamine is produced and transported to the striatum, the area of the
brain that co-ordinates movement, causing the characteristic tremors, impaired
balance and muscle stiffness seen in Parkinson’s.
It is not yet clear what causes the loss of brain cells, but experts believe it is a combination of genetic and environmental factors. As a consequence, treatments are focused on controlling the symptoms. Medications work by restoring the level of dopamine in the brain or imitating its actions, while some patients may be suitable for deep brain stimulation surgery.
Keregen, a pharma startup based in London, develop first-in-class medicines for the prevention and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. Based on research from University College London, their molecular technology could be a game changer in treating Parkinson’s disease. While current treatment options focus on controlling the symptoms, Keregen's drug candidate has the potential to slow or even stop the progression of the disease by preserving quality, preventing degeneration and promoting longevity in cells.
The huge potential of the company was recognized when they won OneStart Europe 2015, the world’s largest life sciences and health care startup accelerator program, and was awarded £100,000. The core management team include Jemma Gatliff, who recently obtained her PhD in Cell Biology from the University of London, Nikolaos Georgakopoulos, a PhD student in Chemical Biology at UCL, and Dr. Geoff Wells at the School of Pharmacy, UCL.