CAMBRIDGE, MA –November 18, 2020 – Caraway Therapeutics today announced that the Company has been awarded a second research grant from The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF). This latest grant builds on Caraway’s drug discovery research focused on the role of lysosomal function and autophagy in neurodegenerative and rare diseases to further investigate the role of TMEM175, a lysosomal ion channel genetically implicated in Parkinson’s disease (PD).
Recent genetic data from multiple studies indicate that variants in TMEM175 impact both age of onset and incidence of PD. Decreased TMEM175 function reduces lysosomal efficiency in neuronal cells, which is strongly associated with Parkinson’s disease. Furthermore, overexpression of TMEM175 reduces the pathology observed in neurons that occurs with synuclein exposure, potentially enhancing neuronal health. The Company will use the grant funding to further investigate the role of TMEM175 in cellular models of disease and evaluate the utility of TMEM175 agonists as therapeutics, and ultimately to develop a new class of PD therapeutics.
“Receiving this grant from The Michael J. Fox Foundation is extremely validating for our science, and we are honored to work with the organization,” said Martin D. Williams, Chief Executive Officer at Caraway Therapeutics. “Our unique drug discovery platform, electrophysiology capabilities and expertise in lysosomal function will allow us to rapidly advance this program towards the clinic.”
“Mutations in TMEM175 are clear risk factors for the development of Parkinson’s disease,” added Magdalene Moran, Chief Scientific Officer at Caraway Therapeutics. “Our approach is to activate this potassium channel to restore lysosomal function. Lysosomal dysfunction is emerging as a driver of PD pathology in both familial and idiopathic forms of disease. We believe that TMEM175 agonists could be an important way to alleviate this dysfunction.”
“Our Foundation funds research into emerging therapeutic options for people living with Parkinson’s today and for those who may be at risk of developing this disease. We are glad to support Caraway’s investigation of TMEM175 as a novel therapeutic target toward our goal of a world without Parkinson’s disease,” said Marco Baptista, MJFF Vice President of Research Programs.
About Caraway Therapeutics
Caraway Therapeutics is a biopharmaceutical company pursuing novel approaches for the treatment of genetically-defined neurodegenerative and rare diseases. The company is a leader in the cutting-edge science of activating cellular recycling processes to clear toxic materials and defective cellular components by modulating autophagy and lysosomal function. Caraway is utilizing its unique product engine with proprietary insights into lysosomal function and small molecule ion channel modulation to develop a robust pipeline of precision therapeutic candidates with disease-modifying potential for patients. The company is backed by top-tier investors, including SV Health Investors, AbbVie Ventures, MRLV Fund, Amgen Ventures, Dementia Discovery Fund, Alexandria Venture Investments and Eisai Innovation.
Caraway is based in Cambridge, MA. For more information, please visit www.carawaytx.com.
Caroline Rufo, PhD or Kari Watson