Ghent, Belgium, 28 February 2019 – Confo Therapeutics, an emerging drug discovery company, today announces the formation of its Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) with four key appointments: Radu Aricescu, Peter Kolb, Graeme Milligan and Jan Steyaert, Founder of Confo Therapeutics, who will serve as Chairman of the SAB.
The SAB will work closely with the management team of Confo Therapeutics as it further develops its proprietary Confo® technology for structure-based drug discovery and advances its pipeline of GPCR modulating compounds to produce drug candidates for human clinical trials.
“We have attracted some of the world’s leading experts in three-dimensional structural analysis of membrane proteins, GPCR pharmacology and computational chemistry”, said Jan Steyaert, Founder of Confo Therapeutics and Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board. “The expertise and vision they bring to Confo Therapeutics will be invaluable as we continue to grow our pipeline and the Company.”
Dr Christel Menet, CSO of Confo Therapeutics, added: “The formation of our SAB serves as an endorsement for Confo Therapeutics' unique technology platform and the applications of ConfoBodiesTM in GPCR drug discovery and structural biology. We look forward to working with the SAB to boost our drug discovery engine.”
Dr Radu Aricescu is a programme leader at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK. His research focuses on synaptic connectivity, and uses a combination of structural biology methods, including X-ray crystallography and cryo-electron microscopy. These are used to define in high-resolution the architecture of neurotransmitter receptors and their supra-molecular assemblies, in order to provide fundamental mechanistic insights into the basic biology of neurotransmission. For more information on Dr Aricescu, please visit https://www2.mrc-lmb.cam.ac.uk/group-leaders/a-to-g/radu-aricescu/.
Dr Peter Kolb is a Professor of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, funded by the Heisenberg programme of the German Research Foundation DFG, at Philipps-University Marburg, Germany. Professor Kolb is an expert in fragment-based and structure-based ligand design for GPCRs and enzymes and focusses predominantly on computational approaches. For more information, please visit http://www.kolblab.org/kolb.html.
Dr Graeme Milligan is a Professor of Molecular Pharmacology, Dean of Research at the College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, and Gardiner Professor of Biochemistry, University of Glasgow, Scotland. His research group centres on the function, structure and regulation of GPCRs and their interacting proteins, having produced more than 500 peer-reviewed articles totalling more than 22,000 citations. In 2015 he co-founded Caldan Therapeutics, which discovers novel therapeutics for metabolic diseases and inflammatory disease. For more information on Dr Milligan, please visit https://www.gla.ac.uk/researchinstitutes/biology/staff/graememilligan/#/researchinterests.
Dr Jan Steyaert is Scientific Director of the VIB-VUB Center for Structural Biology, Full Professor (Gewoon Hoogleraar) and Director of the Department of Structural Biology at the Faculty of Sciences and Bioengineering Sciences at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Brussels, Belgium. Prof Steyaert has pioneered the use of ConfoBodiesTM in structural biology and has enabled ground-breaking structural research on conformational states of proteins, including GPCRs. In addition to founding Confo Therapeutics, he has been instrumental in the foundation of Ablynx (now part of Sanofi) and Agrosavfe, which deploy camelid single domain antibodies for medical and agricultural use, respectively. For more information, please visit http://steyaertlab.structuralbiology.be/.
About Confo Therapeutics
Confo Therapeutics is a VUB-VIB spin-off co-founded in 2015 by VIB and Capricorn Venture Partners with the support of MINTS, PMV, QBIC and V-Bio Ventures. The Company is building a portfolio of first-in-class programs based on its proprietary Confo® technology which makes use of antibody fragments or “ConfoBodiesTM” to stabilize G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) in a particular conformation of interest as a superior starting point for drug discovery.
GPCRs are attractive drug targets in the treatment of many different conditions, playing an essential part in numerous life processes and influencing diseases.
In addition to developing its own pipeline, Confo Therapeutics is entering into revenue-generating drug discovery partnerships with select pharma companies, on GPCR targets which do not compete with its internal projects. The Company has ongoing collaborations with Lundbeck and Roche.