The collaboration will cover research costs, preclinical and clinical-trial studies, and royalties. The companies did not disclose the financial terms of the deal, nor which genes their treatments will target.
Scientists know little about how changes in genes impact the functioning of nerve cells, or neurons. And there is a pressing need for therapies targeting these changes.
Part of the collaboration will involve Q-State coupling its proprietary Optopatch technology with stem cell-derived neurons from epilepsy patients to build disease models.
Optopatch uses optical stimulation and recording to identify gene mutations, and how these errors affect nerve cell activity. By coupling Optopatch information with neuron cell lines derived from epilepsy patients, scientists can gain insight into the nerve cell network and its dysfunctions. This approach should help them develop targeted therapies for the underlying problem in each case of epilepsy.
The ultimate goal of the collaboration is to develop therapies to treat the seizures of epilepsy patients with genetic mutations.
“We are excited at the opportunity to make a real difference for such a devastating set of disorders, and to be doing it with the global leader in epilepsy therapeutics,” Jonathan Fleming, Q-State’s President and CEO, said in a press release. “Genetically defined indications such as these represent an ideal target for the Q-State approach, and we have high hopes that the combined efforts of our two companies will yield new treatments. These patients and their families are in desperate need of help, and innovative approaches based directly on these patients’ neurons are likely to be the best way to get it to them.”
“This collaboration is core to our genetics strategy at UCB, which is to move from high unmet needs of specific patient sub-populations to providing transformational medicines to these subpopulations using innovative science,” said Ismail Kola, UCB’s chief scientific officer. “By coupling our epilepsy expertise with Q-State’s scientific excellence and technology platforms, we hope to accelerate the search of a new treatment for this severe disease.”