Another large EU-grant of no less than 6 million Euro has been awarded to an international team of scientists – among them a biotech startup in Umeå. The UBI-alumni AcureOmics have taken on the task of finding a cure for Batten disease together with the research consortium BATCure.

This project will focus on developing treatments for three distinct diseases that account for more than half of all diagnosed cases of Batten disease, directly affecting the lives of thousands of living children and young adults, for which no therapy is currently available. The project is made possible in part by equipment and resources from the Swedish Metabolomics Centre.

Umeå offers crucial competence in the search for a treatment

Professor Torbjörn Lundstedt, CSO of AcureOmics explains their role in the ambitious endeavour:

– We will use a unique metabolomics technology platform to determine what is causing the disease. We will analyse samples from patients and try to find out how those diagnosed with Batten disease differ from healthy children, he says.

BATCure is a consortium of leading research groups and companies that was granted an EU Horizon 2020 grant of 6 000 000 EUR earlier this year. AcureOmics is a vital partner in the project and their expertise will be instrumental to investigate causes of Batten disease and hopefully develop new therapies for Batten and related diseases.

Batten disease is one type of lysosomal storage disorder

Batten disease is a type of Neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses (NCLs) and one of approximately 50 lysosomal storage disorders (LSD) found in humans. This disease is caused by genetic mutations that disrupt the cells ability to dispose of waste – a situation that eventually becomes toxic and fatal for the cell.

Batten disease is the most common of the rare neurodegenerative disorders in children, affecting approximately 14 000 world-wide, with around 1400 new cases each year. There are no curative treatments yet offered in the clinic for any type of NCL anywhere in the world today.

Successful track record in EU-grants to Umeå cluster

The Umeå life science cluster has recently landed several grants from the EU Horizon-programme. Besides AcureOmics collaboration, the promising enterprise Betagenon was awarded a large grant at the end of 2016. Also, earlier startups have been successful with applications. Lipum landed a grant last year, Brain Stimulation recently received an approval on their third try and Hiloprobe won the grant on their first application. Out for the current UBI cases – all of the applying companies have been approved for at least a first-step grant.

Text: Assoc. Prof. Katrin Lundstedt-Enkel/Dr. Kate Bennett/Carolina Hawranek
Photos: Dr. Sandra Gouveia de Figueira and Dr. Kevin Mills

About AcureOmics

AcureOmics AB is an SME company in personalized medicine that is currently a partner in three different EU-Projects:

The company technology platform and unique competence in drug development, metabolomics and multivariate analysis opens up new opportunities in personalized healthcare. The BATCure consortium is coordinated by Prof. Sara Mole, University College London, United Kingdom. Full list of project participants can be found here.

You can find more information about AcureOmics on these sites:

Further information
Dr. Kate Bennett, Senior Research Scientist, AcureOmics AB
E-mail: Katie.Bennett@acureomics.com

Torbjörn Lundstedt, CSO, AcureOmics AB
E-mail: torbjorn.lundstedt@acureomics.com