Staff news

University Professors launch spin-out to reverse effects of MS

Novel treatments that may reverse the effects of multiple sclerosis are to be investigated by a new company spun out from the University.

Pheno Therapeutics will build on the original research of founding University of Edinburgh Professors Siddharthan Chandran and Neil Carragher.

The company will search for new drugs that aim to repair damage to the nervous system and significantly improve patients’ debilitating symptoms. The University’s advanced cell-based technology platform is key to the company’s potential impact in MS treatments, which enables the screening of large compound libraries on novel human cellular platforms.

£5 million has been invested into Pheno Therapeutics, by London-based venture capital firm Advent Life Sciences, the Scottish Investment Bank – with backing from the Scottish Government through the Scottish Growth Scheme, and independent medical research charity LifeArc. The formation of Pheno Therapeutics has been supported by Edinburgh Innovations, the University’s commercialisation service, which helped bring together the scientific and clinical expertise in partnership with Advent Life Sciences to launch the company.

I’m delighted to see this company launch with the support of such credible investors. Everyone involved is focused on driving the science forward, and we look forward to supporting the team as momentum continues to build, ultimately offering the promise of new treatments.

Dr George BaxterCEO of Edinburgh Innovations

Fighting MS

MS affects more than 100,000 people in the UK and 2.5 million worldwide. The disease occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the myelin sheath, which slows or disrupts the electrical signals travelling along the nerves.

It causes a wide range of symptoms including problems with movement, vision, sensation and balance.

Current treatments mainly focus on the immune system aspects of the disease and reduce the severity and frequency of relapses. There is a significant medical need for novel neuroprotective agents that halt the disease progression and prevent long-term disability.

There are no interventions for people with later stage multiple sclerosis, which is a devastating and debilitating condition. The opportunity for this company is to bring new and repurposed therapeutics to clinical trials and, by doing so, meet an urgent and currently unmet need.

Professor Siddharthan ChandranPheno Therapeutics co-founder

At the Seed Fund, we look to use our translational expertise to invest in enterprises with a sound scientific concept and the potential to lead to new interventions that address patient needs. In the founders of Pheno Therapeutics and their research to induce myelin repair, we saw an appealing opportunity, particularly given the existing clinical needs in progressive MS. We are delighted to have reached an agreement to support Pheno Therapeutics translate their discoveries.

Dr David HolbrookHead of LifeArc’s Seed Fund

Pheno Therapeutics is a spinout company from the University of Edinburgh, founded by Professors Chandran and Carragher, Advent Life Sciences and Dr Jon Moore, Operating Partner at Advent Life Sciences.

Related links

Pheno Therapeutics website 

Edinburgh Innovations