Brain drug delivery firm to-BBB won €1.25 million (approximately $1.57 million) under the EC’s 7th Framework Program to fund its role in a collaborative €5 million (about $6.3 million) project that aims to develop preclinical-stage drugs and drug delivery systems for inherited retinal degenerative disorders such as retinitis pigmentosa, Leber’s congenital amaurosis, and achromatopsia. to-BBB will be working with collaborators at the University of Tübingen (who will coordinate the program), German firm Biolog, the University of Modena and Reggio in Italy, and Lund University in Sweden.

Orphan inherited photoreceptor degenerative disorders are often characterized by dysregulated cGMP metabolism or signaling, which could feasibly be addressed using cyclic nucleotide analogs. The consortium will leverage Biolog’s expertise in cyclic nucleotide-based drug development, and to-BBB’s G-Technology® platform for delivering the drug across the blood-retinal barrier, which the firm says has similar characteristics to the blood-brain barrier for which the platform was originally developed. Academic collaborators at the German, Italian and Swedish research institutes will input their expertise in the study of photoreceptor degenerative mechanisms and the testing and evaluation of drug treatment effects.

to-BBB’s G-Technology platform combines PEGylated liposomes with the endogenous tripeptide glutathione as a targeting ligand, to enable the deliver of drugs across the blood-brain barrier. The firm is using the platform to develop a pipeline of internal drug candidates, and also through partnerships with the industry. Lead in house candidate 2B3-101 is a G-Technology-delivered doxorubicin for the treatment of brain cancer, which is in Phase I/II development.

German firm Biolog has specialist expertise in the chemical modification of intracellular second messengers such as cAMP and cGMP, for applications in fields spanning signal transduction research, receptor mapping studies, drug development, RNA and DNA analysis, genotyping and antiviral research, and drug discovery.

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