Yumanity Therapeutics has officially been launched by Dr. Tony Coles, who is world-renowned in the biotech industry. The goal of the company is to challenge and defeat diseases that are debilitating and crippling for those who encounter them.
Neurodegenerative diseases are amongst the most-challenging to cope with, as well as the most-challenging to actually diagnose and treat. Currently, the limitations of treating diseases like ALS, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease only allow doctors to treat symptoms – rather than treat the root causes of the diseases. This makes prevention and treatment impossible – and places doctors and patients in a defensive position – ultimately unable to defeat the illnesses.
Yumanity Therapeutics takes the methods of Susan Lindquist, an award-winning protein folding expert to develop new ideas, as well as disease-modifying therapies that attack the diseases at the cellular level. It’s estimated that as many as 50 million people currently suffer from neurodegenerative diseases globally, and that is a number that continues to rise every single day. Even more challenging is the cost that’s associated with treating these diseases since no legitimate cure is currently known. It’s been estimated that the current cost is roughly $650 billion, and will rise to $1 trillion by the year 2030.
The company says the secret will be in addressing protein misfolding. Right now, scientists ultimately only know that diseases like ALS or Parkinson’s exist because of proteins not folding properly at a cellular level. The science behind how humans operate at a cellular level is complex, but when DNA is decoded into amino acids – the strands are required to fold into specific, and distinct shapes. Misfolding occurs when these linear strands, or amino acids stop folding in the precise way that is required for them to maintain their existence.
Yumanity will use a series of three discovery platforms which will be comprised of the following:
- Ultra high-throughput, phenotypic screening platforms – or uHTS platforms – which will identify and model the varying protein misfolding pathologies in varying compounds including yeast.
- A human neuronal platform will use the neuron that are produced by the stem cells inside patients that have these debilitating disease to validate the findings in yeast and other compounds.
- A drug-target identification platform that adequately exploits the power of yeast genetics, as well as protein network analysis to ultimately correct the issues at the cellular level.
The overwhelming message of the company is to eradicate the diseases rather than simply treat the symptoms of the disease. This is a major change within the medical industry that will have ripple effects far beyond the medical world – as economic impacts will even be felt with the improvement and correction of the failures and shortcomings to date with treating these neurodegenerative diseases.