London and Cambridge, UK, 18 January 2008 - Senexis Limited, a private drug development company in which BTG plc (LSE: BGC) is a shareholder announced today that it has secured £2.9 million of new funding from the Wellcome Trust. The new funds will be used to further optimise Senexis’ small molecule compounds as a potential disease-modifying treatment for Alzheimer’s disease and to progress their preclinical development. These compounds were licensed from BTG in 2006.
The Wellcome Trust award of £2.9 million is being made available from its Seeding Drug Discovery initiative. This new funding augments an investment of £0.8 million from BTG in 2007 and is in addition to the £2.4 million that BTG and the Wellcome Trust had already invested in Senexis since November 2002.
Mark Treherne, Senexis’ Chief Executive, commented: “We are pleased that the Wellcome Trust and BTG have continued to support the Company. We now look forward to being able to accelerate the development of our small molecule compounds towards the clinic.”
"In spite of the attention Alzheimer’s disease receives, we know rather little about how to detect or treat the condition”, reported Ted Bianco, Director of Technology Transfer at the Wellcome Trust. “Senexis are exploring an important avenue that we hope may lead to a disease-modifying therapy. It is precisely this sort of pioneering R&D that the Seeding Drug Discovery initiative was set up to facilitate”.
Louise Makin, BTG’s Chief Executive Officer, commented: "We believe Senexis’ platform and expertise in protecting cells and tissues from amyloid-induced toxicity gives them a real competitive advantage in taking these innovative compounds forwards. We are pleased to continue to support the Company’s development”.
The number of people with Alzheimer’s disease is expected to double over the next two decades. Currently, five million people in the US alone are affected by the disease.