Reflection Therapeutics secures Innovate UK co-funding for major research programme to fight motor neurone disease through cell therapy

Work in lab at Reflection Therapeutics

Reflection Therapeutics, Cambridge-based developer of cell therapy against neuroinflammation, is pleased to announce the start of a major Innovate Smart Grant project co-funded by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency.

NHS figures suggest there are about 5,000 people living with a motor neurone disease in the UK. The best current treatment has a survival advantage of three months for patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).  Reflection Therapeutics’ mission is to develop a novel way to protect the nervous system against motor neurone disease.  In contrast to existing anti-inflammatory therapies, which are particularly unsuitable for elderly patients, Reflection Therapeutics’ radical new technology guides anti-inflammatory cell therapies directly to the affected tissue, enabling the therapy to work faster and more effectively.
The project, which is called ‘'Degen-lock' - a novel way of protecting the nervous system in Motor Neurone Disease’, will consist of an 18-month long research programme, the objective of which is to pave the way for the manufacturing of the new therapy. The award of the competitive grant provides Reflection Therapeutics with expert peer-review endorsement of its research and development vision, whilst also providing the opportunity for the organisation to accelerate its funds for growth. The Innovate Smart Grant is crucial in enabling Reflection Therapeutics to further develop its technology and in doing so make the transition from lab research to the development of a pharmaceutical industry approved product, ready for clinical trials. The project (costing £464,042 in total, co-funded by existing Reflection Therapeutics investors and Innovate UK) will combine Reflection Therapeutics’ existing research and development team, based at the Babraham Research Campus and contract research by leading UK-based expert organisations; as well as a collaboration with the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult, the world-leading centre designed to transform the UK’s capability for innovation in advanced manufacturing therapeutic products.

Reflection Therapeutics - based at Babraham Research Campus - has made considerable progress in recent months, thanks to participation in the Accelerate@Babraham bioincubator programme and support from Deep Science Ventures.

Commenting on the grant award, Dr Karolina Zapadka, Head of the Babraham Research Campus Accelerator said: “Having closely followed Reflection Therapeutics’ rapid progress from the beginning of the Accelerate@Babraham programme in September 2019, we are delighted that it has secured this prestigious award. The Accelerate@Babraham programme develops and nurtures young life science ventures and science concepts via our model of providing not only access to equipped communal laboratories, but also a comprehensive programme of mentoring, business support and introductions to investors. This all-round programme really equips our start-ups with the skills required to maximise the opportunities presented to them; Reflection Therapeutics is a great example of a company doing just that.”

Dr Timothy Newton, CEO Reflection Therapeutics added: “We are extremely pleased to begin this work with the support of Innovate UK to further develop our innovative new ALS therapy.  ALS is a devastating disease, and at Reflection Therapeutics we feel a sense of urgency to provide meaningful and novel treatment options for patients and their families.  This project, carried out at the Babraham Research Campus, will allow us to develop and test our prototype therapy, allowing us to reach critical pre-clinical milestones on the way towards clinical development.”  



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