Confo Therapeutics has received two multi-million-dollar research grants, one to identify new G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) agonists to treat fibrosis and another to develop new applications for the company’s proprietary Confo technology.
Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship (VLAIO) gave Confo a two-year €1.6 million ($1.7 million) grant for research into the GPCR treatment compounds. The work will be at Confo’s Drug Discovery Center in Gent, Belgium.
Innoviris, a Brussels institute for the encouragement of scientific research and innovation, awarded Confo €0.97 million ($1 million) to broaden the applicability of its Confo technology. The work will be done at Confo’s Target Discovery Center in Brussels.
“We are honored and grateful for the grant award from both VLAIO and Innoviris, bringing in a total of €2.6 million non-dilutive funding over a period of 2 years. The VLAIO grant will allow us to speed up our efforts to find new disease modifying therapeutics for patients with fibrosis of the liver, lungs or other organs, who currently lack effective treatment options,” Cedric Ververken, chief executive officer of Confo Therapeutics, said in a press release.
“The Innoviris grant will be deployed to further strengthen our technical capabilities and to build internal critical mass in GPCR biochemistry and Confobody discovery in the Company’s Brussels site,” Ververken added.
Confo’s proprietary technology uses antibody fragments, called Confobodies, to lock unstable functional GPCR formations as a starting point for treatment discovery.
GPCRs are flexible signaling switches in a cell membrane that let signals from the outside pass into the cell. A GPCR agonist is a substance that can combine with a receptor in a cell to facilitate signaling.
GPCRs are attractive targets for treating a number of diseases. They play a pivotal role in numerous processes and can influence the course of a disease.
Confo Therapeutics said the goal of its proprietary technology is to stabilize GPCR signaling, to facilitate structure-based therapy design, and to develop a pipeline of agonist therapies using selected GPCRs.
Fibrosis is the excessive development of fibrous connective tissue when the body tries to repair damage or injury. The condition can affect the lungs, liver and other organs.
It is estimated that 45% of deaths in the developed world are due to chronic inflammatory and fibrogenic diseases, such as pulmonary fibrosis, systemic sclerosis, cardiovascular disease, progressive kidney disease, and liver cirrhosis.