OxStem Neuro to be headed by St Anne’s Fellow

Prof Francis Szele, St Anne’s Fellow and Tutor in Developmental Neurobiology will lead OxStem Neuro a new company launched on 3 August, 2016. OxStem Neuro will identify new classes of drugs that stimulate neuron production from brain stem cells. This will help cure neurodegenerative diseases, stroke and traumatic brain injury and also aims to increase neurogenesis to restore cognitive function during normal ageing.

There are very few drug treatments for brain diseases and OxStem Neuro’s approach is to harness the natural reparative capacity of the brain by stimulating its neural stem cells. OxStem Neuro will identify small molecules to enhance this intrinsic regenerative capacity. This unique combination of drug development and regenerative medicine will improve the quality of life for patients with brain disease and represents a paradigm shift over current treatments. OxStem Neuro plans to expand into personalised medicine and will develop drugs that target individual molecular variants and combat brain disorders.

OxStem Neuro is one of several subsidiaries of OxStem, one of the most ambitious Oxford spinouts to date. OxStem has raised a record £16.9m and established strategic partnerships with world-class biotechnology companies and individual investors. OxStem was founded by Prof Steve Davies and Prof Angela Russell (Chemistry) and Prof Dame Kay Davies (DPAG), and will build on their decades of experience in medicinal chemistry and biotechnology spin out companies. This new project builds on a three year collaborative project between the Szele/Russell/S. Davies labs that has identified several compounds that increase neurogenesis in vitro.

Please feel free to contact Francis (francis.szele@dpag.ox.ac.uk) or find out more via the OxStem website: http://www.oxstem.co.uk/

Image: A photomicrograph from the Szele group showing a single brain stem cell can generate all three major cells of the brain: white neurons, green astrocytes and red oligodendrocytes.

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