If Abide Therapeutics has its way, serine hydrolases won’t be an underexplored class of drug targets for much longer. Today the company announced a partnership with the University of Oxford and the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust to explore the therapeutic potential of serine hydrolases in diseases of the central nervous system.

Specifically, Abide and Oxford will study the role of monoacylglycerol lipase (MGLL) inhibitors in altering endocannabinoid tone in the human brain. The collaboration will combine the capabilities of the Oxford Centre for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain (FMRIB), under the directorship of Professor Irene Tracey with Abide's chemoproteomics platform.

The agreement has a three-year term, and Abide will provide support for at least three Phase Ib studies as well as for directed new target discovery efforts. The collaboration has been supported through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Oxford Biomedical Research Centre (BRC), a partnership that brings together the research expertise of the University of Oxford and the clinical skills of staff of Oxford University Hospitals NHS.

Earlier this year, Abide inked a similarly focused collaborative agreement with Celgene to discover and develop new drugs in inflammation and immunology. Last year the company inked agreements with the University of California, San Diego and Merck.

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