Published: 03-04-2018 16:05 | Updated: 19-03-2019 16:02

Nils-Göran Larsson receives Novo Seed Grant of nearly 5 million SEK

Nils-Göran Larsson at Karolinska Institutet’s Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics receives the grant for the development of drugs against mitochondrial disease. The researchers aim to develop the drugs by stimulating mtDNA replication.

Mitochondrial disorders are the most common inherited metabolic diseases, and are often caused by mutations in the mitochondrial genome (mtDNA). There are thousands of mitochondria present in each cell, and patients with mitochondrial disease typically have heteroplasmy, i.e. a mixture of wild-type and mutated mtDNA.

A heteroplasmic mtDNA mutation will only cause symptoms if present above a certain threshold level. This suggests that a moderate increase in the number of wild-type mtDNA molecules can ameliorate symptoms or even cure the patients.

The aim of the research project is to develop drugs against mitochondrial disorders by identifying ways of stimulating mtDNA replication and thus increase the number of wild-type copies of mtDNA.

Novo pre-seed grant supports commercialization of findings from basic science

“This grant will enable us to perform a large-scale screening to identify small molecules that stimulate mitochondrial replication. If the screening is successful, Novo Seeds will also provide guidance in the commercialisation process, including practical support and network”, says Nils-Göran Larsson.

The pre-seed grants from Novo Seeds are specifically suited for Proof of Concept studies and testing the commercial potential of a promising life science project with the aim of bringing new science a step closer to the patients. Novo Seeds are part of the Novo Nordisk Foundation and Novo A/S.