Improving healthcare for all

BIO International trade fair: Lys Therapeutics, a promising solution for neurogenerative and neurovascular diseases

This startup founded in 2021 is taking part for the first time in this American trade fair. An international showcase that is perfect for its molecule, Glunozumab, a potential treatment for strokes, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.

9 Jun 2022

The main drug developed by Lys Therapeutics is a first-in-class monoclonal antibody called Glunozumab. 

In the physiopathology of many neurological diseases such as strokes and multiple sclerosis, a protease called a tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) causes hyperactivation of neuronal and vascular NMDA receptors (NMDAr). Glunozumab specifically blocks this interaction between the tPA and the NMDA receptor cancelling out the harmful effects of this bond: neurotoxicity, neuro-inflammation and disruption of the blood-brain barrier, and restores the physiological function of the NMDAr.

Lys Therapeutics has a site in Normandy and another in the Rhône-Alpes region. The business came about thanks to a “wonderful meeting with an academic team in Normandy,” sums up Manuel Blanc, co-founder and CEO. This academic team is run by Professor Denis Vivien, a university professor and hospital practitioner (PU-PH), scientific director of the Blood and Brain Institute @Caen-Normandie and chairman of the biotech scientific board. In Caen, Lys Therapeutics is located in the premises of the Institute and has access to its laboratories and teams, “an agile method to work fast and have quality studies,” underlined Philippe Dujardin, co-founder and financial director of Lys. 

Glunozumab was first of all developed by the teams of Prof Vivien as a fundamental research tool, before discovering its obvious therapeutic effects for strokes, in animals, then for multiple sclerosis. The molecule was then patented, and the professor asked Manuel Blanc, formerly of Sanofi, to work on developing it.

“Glunozumab has demonstrated a mechanism of action that is unique in the world for fighting neurodegenerative and neurovascular diseases, an area where the medical needs are huge, and for which few treatments are available. Our molecule is non-invasive, non-intrusive and non-toxic. Unlike its competitors, the great benefit of this antibody is that it does not disrupt the physiological operation of the NMDA receptor, and does not need to cross the blood-brain barrier to act on the central nervous system,” says Manuel Blanc, co-founder and CEO of Lys Therapeutics.

At the beginning of March 2022, the startup signed an agreement for three years with the Blood and Brain Institute (INSERM, University Hospital (CHU) and University of Caen) for joint research on strokes and multiple sclerosis. This partnership aims to generate new pre-clinical data to prepare the design of future clinical studies on Glunozumab. 

In October 2021, the young biotech received a grant of 600,000 euros as winner of the i-Lab innovation competition for its drug candidate.

After its first seed-fund round in 2021, Lys Therapeutics is preparing to launch a series-A seed-fund round. 
For Lys Therapeutics, “taking part in BIO International is significant source of opportunities, in particular for forming cooperation agreements and partnerships with other pharmaceutical firms for the development of our product, thanks to dedicated partnering meetings. It’s an occasion to showcase the project, the science behind it, and our unique positioning in the world,” in the view of Manuel Blanc.

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