« Back to news

Ventus Therapeutics Awarded Grant by The Michael J. Fox Foundation to Support Development of a NLRP3 PET Tracer

Grant funds Ventus’ development of its highly differentiated brain-penetrant NLRP3 inhibitors

WALTHAM, Mass. & MONTREAL — April 20, 2023 — (BUSINESS WIRE) — Ventus Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company utilizing structural biology and a proprietary computational chemistry platform to identify and develop differentiated small molecule therapeutics across a broad range of diseases, announced today that it has been awarded a $150,000 grant by The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF). Initiated in 2022, MJFF’s Novel PET Tracer Development Program supports work to develop and validate positron emission tomography (PET) imaging techniques utilizing radiotracers of targets relevant to Parkinson’s disease, such as NLRP3, for potential use as a diagnostic tool, for risk assessment, or as a surrogate biomarker to monitor disease progression and efficacy of therapies.

Ventus will use the grant to support the identification and development of a NLRP3 PET tracer derived from its portfolio of selective brain-penetrant NLRP3 inhibitors. A validated NLRP3 PET tracer will deepen the scientific community’s understanding of NLRP3’s role as a central driver of neuroinflammation, a pathological hallmark of Parkinson’s disease that occurs in concert with alpha-synuclein accumulation and neuronal cell loss.

“Overwhelming evidence links neuroinflammation and NLRP3 activation to Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative conditions, and this is reflected in the launch of the Novel PET Tracer Development Program by MJFF,” said Ventus Chief Scientific Officer Mike Crackower, Ph.D. “NLRP3 is one of our initial targets of focus, and as part of our differentiated portfolio, we have developed structurally distinct, potent, and selective brain-penetrant NLRP3 inhibitors. We now have the potential to develop the first ever brain-penetrant NLRP3 PET tracer, and we are grateful for the support of MJFF.”

About NLRP3

NLRP3 is a member of a family of proteins known as inflammasome receptors and is integral in the formation of the NLRP3 inflammasome. Inflammasomes are multiprotein complexes that regulate the innate immune system and are involved in intracellular surveillance of danger signals that trigger an intense inflammatory response, including the release of IL-1β and IL-18 and the induction of pyroptosis, a lytic form of cell death. Therapeutic inhibition of NLRP3 can, therefore, prevent the formation of the NLRP3 inflammasome, which in turn inhibits the production of IL-1β and IL-18. Aberrant activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome has been associated with systemic conditions, including fibrotic, dermatological, and rheumatological diseases, and is a key driver of disease pathology in several neurological disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.

About Ventus Therapeutics

Ventus Therapeutics is a biopharmaceutical company deploying leading-edge structural biology and computational chemistry tools to create novel small molecule medicines for challenging targets, with an initial focus on immunology, inflammation, and neurology. The Company’s proprietary drug discovery platform, ReSOLVETM, gives it the ability to discover and develop medicines through unique insights into protein targets and to create dynamic blueprints that can guide the development of differentiated therapies at a fast pace. Ventus’ first target screen was conducted in 2020, which led to the nomination of three development candidates in 2022, including: VENT-03, a potential first-in-class cGAS inhibitor; VENT-02, a brain-penetrant NLRP3 inhibitor; and VENT-01, a peripherally restricted NLRP3 inhibitor. These programs exemplify Ventus’ unique discovery capabilities and focus on first- and best-in-class programs for multi-indication immunology targets with franchise potential. For more information, please visit www.ventustx.com and engage with Ventus on LinkedIn.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements about future expectations, plans, and prospects, including, but not limited to, statements related to the anticipated benefits of Ventus’ business strategy, pipeline programs, drug discovery platform, and financial position. Actual results and the timing of events could differ materially from those anticipated in such forward-looking statements due to the risks and uncertainties inherent in Ventus’ business, which include, without limitation, the timing, progress, and results of preclinical and clinical studies involving its development programs; the results of its earlier studies not being predictive of future results; its ability to enhance the ReSOLVETM platform; its ability to continue to obtain funding for its operations and to implement its business strategy; the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its business; anticipated developments related to its competitors and its industry; the performance of third-party service providers, including suppliers, manufacturers, and CROs; and its ability to obtain, maintain, and protect its intellectual property. Any forward-looking statements contained in this press release speak only as of the date hereof, and Ventus undertakes no duty or obligation to update any forward-looking statements as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.

Media Contact
Alexis Feinberg
ICR Westwicke