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LifeArc, one of the UK’s leading medical research charities, has signed a deal to license an ion channel drug discovery programme to Daiichi Sankyo Company, Limited.

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The licensing deal successfully concludes a research collaboration between LifeArc, the University of Oxford's Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences and Daiichi Sankyo. 

Small molecules, optimised as part of the programme, are capable of affecting the sensitivity of neurons, show efficacy in treating pain and will undergo further pre-clinical development.

Commenting on the announcement, Dr Justin Bryans, LifeArc’s Executive Director, Drug Discovery, said; 'We’re delighted to have been a part of an exciting collaboration that advanced basic research into a pre-clinical development programme within a major global pharmaceutical company. The success of this project is a testament to fantastic teamwork between all involved.' 

Under the terms of the deal Daiichi Sankyo acquires an exclusive worldwide license to a discovery stage programme of small molecules with the potential to develop into novel treatments for intractable pain.

Jeff Jerman, principal senior scientist and LifeArc project lead said; 'The small molecule drug candidates modulate the ion channel that underpins pain sensing.  LifeArc is using the experience and insight in this ion channel subfamily to explore the therapeutic potential of a range of other channels in the subfamily, including, but not exclusively, for pain.'

Summit Pharmaceuticals International Corporation served as advisor to LifeArc in connection with this transaction.