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Liz Banks-Anderson (Media office)
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The University of Melbourne has entered an agreement with US start-up company Procypra Therapeutics LLC to develop a class of drugs for treating neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease.

Cross-disciplinary research at the University of Melbourne and the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health has found that a class of synthetic compounds called copper bis (thiosemicarbazones) can potentially treat Parkinson's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases such as Motor Neuron Disease.

Parkinson’s disease is a progressively degenerative neurological disorder that affects approximately 6.3 million worldwide. It causes changes to key proteins in the brain making them toxic. Copper bis (thiosemicarbazones) have the potential to treat the disease by preventing these modifications to the proteins. 


The research was led by Dr Paul Donnelly (School of Chemistry and Bio21 Institute), Associate Professor Kevin Barnham (Bio21 Institute, Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health and the Department of Pharmacology) and Associate Professor Anthony White (Department of Pathology).


Professor Frances Separovic, Head of the School of Chemistry at the University of Melbourne, welcomed Procypra adopting the University’s multidisciplinary approach to develop a treatment for the devastating disease. 



“This agreement reflects the desire for innovative research at The University of Melbourne to be translated into impact and recognises the importance of working with academic collaborators, like the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health and industry partners to achieve this goal,” she said.


Under the arrangement, the University will receive royalty payments from the sale of products by Procypra. The Company anticipates that first-in-human clinical trials will commence within 3 years.


About Procypra:


Procypra is a US start-up established by Collaborative Medicinal Development LLC (CMD), a pharmaceutical development vehicle under the umbrella of US-based Cthulhu Ventures LLC.

In developing and pursuing its pharmaceutical initiatives, CMD works closely with the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry, which is also based in the US.



The licence agreement was facilitated by UoM Commercial Ltd, the University’s Commercial Engagement Services company.