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December 20, 2018

First Innosuisse project at the Biozentrum

Dr. Stefan Imseng and Dr. Asier González are conducting a new study at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel to develop a novel drug for the treatment of the genetic disease tuberous sclerosis. The Swiss Innovation Agency Innosuisse is funding the feasibility study with a grant of 350 000 Swiss francs.

Dr. Stefan Imseng and Dr. Asier González.

The project entitled «Development of a lead compound for specific mTORC1 inhibition» is the first Innosuisse funded project at the Biozentrum. Replacing the former Swiss Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI), the Swiss Innovation Agency will fund the project until 2020. With their project, Dr. Stefan Imseng and Dr. Asier González have ventured into entrepreneurship. They are supported by Prof. Timm Maier und Prof. Michael N. Hall at the Biozentrum, University of Basel.
 
mTORC1 (mammalian Target of Rapamycin-Complex 1) regulates cell growth and metabolism. Its dysregulation can lead to multiple disorders including cancer, epilepsy, diabetes, autoimmune diseases and age-related pathologies. Impaired mTORC1 is also implicated in tuberous sclerosis, a genetic disease that results in tumor growth in various organ systems.

Clinical treatment with the currently available mTORC1 inhibitors is unsatisfactory due to their limited effectiveness. In the feasibility study, the scientists are searching for compounds, which could provide a novel approach to inhibit mTORC1. The findings from this feasibility study could form the basis for a spin-off, which will provide the legal framework to further develop promising active compounds for clinical trials and potentially launch them as drugs on the market.