Work will build on molecules discovered by Canadian researchers that appear to restore normal CFTR function.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) will lean on the expertise of researchers at McGill University in a collaboration focused on developing a treatment for cystic fibrosis that corrects the dysfunction caused by the mutated CFTR gene rather than just treating the symptoms of the disease. Co-sponsored by the Canadian Institues of Health Research, the work will build on the McGill team’s research on the CFTR protein, and their previous identification of molecules that appear to restore normal CFTR function.

The partnership will in addition represent the flagship project of a new cystic fibrosis translational research CFTR center at McGill, which has been established support from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation.

“We will now be looking at enhancing these small molecules to improve their ability to rescue or correct the mutant protein, allowing it to reach its proper location and be more active,” comments John Hanrahan, Ph.D., a professor at McGill’s department of physiology.

GSK says it hopes that by the end of the two-year collaboration the research will have generated a compound ready for investigation as a potential disease-modifying therapy. “Collaborations such as these, where we share knowledge, expertise, and resource, provide a highly effective way of progressing cutting edge research,” notes Roberto Solari, Ph.D., head of respiratory biology at GSK.

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