I recently became aware of a new and exciting company working on a potential drug therapy in the Myotonic Dystrophy space. Valentia Biopharma S.L. is a biotechnology company born in August 2006 as a University of Valencia spin-off.
After more than 12 years of academic research in the laboratory of Molecular Genetics of Development and Biomedical Models of the University of Valencia (Ruben Artero’s Research group, the group who has discovered the antiDM1 peptide), the new company was born with the objective of development new therapies for Myotonic Dystrophy type 1.
VLT Biopharma uses Drosophila melanogaster (fruit-fly) as a model for the discovery of new drugs. Our technology is based on the development of biomedical models in Drosophila that copy the most significant aspects of the disease under study. These models are integrated in our in vivo HTS (High Throughput Screening) platform.
We have created 4 different models of Drosophila melanogaster for the discovery of potential drugs to fight DM1. In our platform for in vivo screening, we have analyzed over 15,000 compounds identifying several feasible new drugs.
Included in the VLT002 compound family we have 13 small molecules with potential anti DM1 activity. We are strongly working over two of them, having interesting results in DM1 Drosophila models, culture cells and mouse models.There are some European patents pending on these molecules.
The company has already invested more than 2 million € in the development of the new anti DM1 drugs and now we are looking for new funding to finish the pre clinical trials. It is exciting to see these molecules progress to potential drugs. Hopefully Valencia will be successful in additional fundraising.
Also extremely interesting is a myotonic Dystrophy Spanish facebook page. Valencia has taken the lead in communicating and getting information in Spanish to new patients Trying to contribute with the Spanish speaker patients, we have a facebook site (www.facebook.com/distrofiamiotonica) and we share with them the new advances on the disease.
We are glad that the next IDMC meeting (the 9th one now!) is going to be in Spain October 15-19th 2013, VLT will be sharing there information about the drug development development with all the international patients’ community.