Yumanity Therapeutics was founded in December 2014 to serve the millions of people affected by neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Since then, we have assembled a highly skilled team of scientists and innovators deeply committed to identifying and developing new, disease-modifying therapies that address these conditions. Each of our lives have been affected by the ravages of neurodegenerative diseases and it is these personal experiences that inspire our commitment to finding therapies for such devastating diseases.
Protein misfolding plays a key role in neurodegenerative diseases. When proteins are not formed – or ‘folded’ – correctly, they are unable to perform the many critical roles they play in cellular structure, function, and regulation. Moreover, improperly folded proteins can also adopt new functions, some of which may be detrimental to the function and viability of the cell. This can trigger a wide range of cellular events, which in turn compromise cell function and result in disease. Previous research and drug discovery efforts have been hindered by a lack of adequate tools to study the protein folding defects and their consequences, which are at the core of neurodegenerative diseases, and have suffered from a shortage of methods to identify molecules that can protect cells from the consequences of protein misfolding.
Susan Lindquist, renowned cell biologist and expert in protein folding, National Medal of Science awardee and scientific founder of Yumanity Therapeutics, discovered that you can use yeast as a model organism to study protein misfolding disorders. The yeast models created in her lab at MIT’s Whitehead Institute became an essential part of the drug discovery platform that was exclusively licensed to Yumanity.
The company’s proprietary platforms have identified several previously unknown disease targets that when modulated can correct the cellular toxicities created by misfolded proteins. Our lead program corrects toxicity associated with α-synuclein, a protein linked to Parkinson’s disease. Yumanity Therapeutics is actively advancing its lead molecules for this condition, as well as identifying additional compounds for Alzheimer’s disease and ALS.
Yumanity Therapeutics raised $45M in a Series A financing led by Fidelity Management & Research with participation from Redmile Group, Alexandria Venture Investments, Biogen, Sanofi Ventures, and Dolby Family Ventures in February of 2016 to accelerate the discovery and development of novel therapies in neurodegenerative diseases.