Money from NINDS, ALSA, ALS Therapy Alliance, and Jain Foundation back R&D in ALS, Parkinson’s, and muscular dystrophy.

Cambria Biosciences’ drug discovery program for neurogenerative diseases was given a boost with five grants from various organizations totaling $5 million. The funding will support research in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), muscular dystrophy, and Parkinson’s disease.

Three of the grants will go toward the company’s work in ALS. The phase 1 SBIR funding from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) will be used to identify small molecules. Additionally, the ALS Association (ALSA) gave Cambria a multiyear, multimillion-dollar award for lead optimization and pharmacology. It will support an IND application for compounds that block protein aggregation and resulting cellular damage. The last grant came from the ALS Therapy Alliance to back Cambria’s testing of orally available small molecule.

A second NINDS phase I SBIR backing will support the identification of small molecules that protect against Parkinson’s disease. This work will be down by Bethany Westlund, Ph.D., a senior scientist at Cambria, and Jin Xu, Ph.D., at Tufts-St. Elizabeth Medical Center.

The Jain Foundation awarded Cambria the fifth grant to establish a drug discovery program for type 2A limb girdle muscular dystrophy (LGMD2A). Cambria will implement a whole-organism screen to discover small molecules that correct the cellular dysfunction caused by mutations in the dysferlin gene, which are responsible for human LGMD2A and Miyoshi myopathy.

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