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ZYNEYRO is a spin-out from the University of Copenhagen, founded by a group of scientists from the Department of Neuroscience together with Marigold Innovation.
We are developing new treatments for chronic pain without the usual side effects.
More than 15 years of work on the modulation of neuronal transmission led us to the discovery of a unique molecule scaffold that lets us develop new drugs to treat disorders associated with maladaptive plasticity.
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Our First Indication: Solutions for Chronic Pain
Developing new drugs to treat chronic pain.
At ZYNEYRO, we aim to provide better treatment for chronic pain condition patients, thereby addressing a vast unmet medical need.
We are developing innovative peptide and gene therapeutic-based solutions to selectively target the neural adaptations underlying chronic pain thereby circumventing dose-limiting side-effects.
Neuropathic pain affects 7–10% of the world population with higher prevalence in women and elderly. Current medication, including anti‐epileptics, antidepressants, and opioids, provides only partial pain relief and comes with considerable side effects. Consequently, there is an urgent need for better treatment.
The causes of the development of neuropathic pain include diabetes mellitus, treatment with chemotherapeutics, and herpes zoster, which all cause damage to the peripheral nervous system leading to increased central pain perception. This central sensitization involves the insertion of excess glutamate receptors in the dorsal horn synapse, and the direct modulation of the glutamatergic transmission by glutamate receptor antagonists to obtain better efficacy has been pursued, but clinical development was discontinued due to adverse side effects.
We refined the effort to modulate this synaptic transmission in the spinal cord by specifically targeting the scaffold protein PICK1, which is responsible for the insertion of excess glutamate receptors in the hyper‐sensitized condition rather than blocking the receptors themselves.
We developed a synthetic bivalent peptide that inhibits PICK1 with high specificity and selectivity. Moreover, we developed a gene therapeutic approach enabling neuron-specific expression of the bivalent peptide. The mechanism of action is supported by the demonstration of reduced insertion of calcium permeable AMPA receptors in spinal cord tissue and by electrophysiological in vivo measurement in injured animals.
Subcutaneous administration of our synthetic inhibitor mPD5 provides transient (4h) relief of evoked pain in mouse models of inflammatory, neuropathic and diabetic pain as well as relief of ongoing (spontaneous) pain. The gene therapy provides full pain relief in a model of neuropathic pain for up until one year.
We do not observe effects on normal pain transmission, locomotor activity or performance, learning and memory or glucose homeostasis. And importantly, we observe no abuse liability. In conclusion, we advance a dual strategy to relieve chronic pain, circumventing common side-effects.
Please review the data upon which ZYNEYRO is founded.
Click here to review the publication history of our work on the PICK1 target.
Read the two most recent publications here:
Our research also attracted attention from the Scandinavian media:
PETER HORN MØLLER
CEO & Co-Founder
Peter has a scientific background with a master in biochemistry and organic chemistry and a PhD in medical sciences.
Peter’s career started as a patent attorney, where he became manager for the life-science and chemistry department and ultimately partner and COO in one of the major European patent law firms. Later, and charged with a keen interest in applying his IP skills in business creation, Peter joined a partnership of senior biotech executives in establishing biotech companies, and had an interim C-level role in a Norwegian Biobank.
Prior to co-founding ZYNEYRO, Peter was part of the global management group of Novozymes IP department, and member of a Novozymes’ management group for strategic IP and licensing. He had a key role in the spin-out of Albumedix from Novozymes.
Peter has been an invited member of the US-based think-tank, The Gathering 2.0, which focus on future trends in strategic IP and licensing.
ANDREAS TOFT SØRENSEN
CSO & Co-Founder
Andreas is an Associate Professor at the Department of Neuroscience at University of Copenhagen.
Andreas has research experience from several international laboratories over the last 10 years. He is trained as an electrophysiologist and holds a PhD degree in Experimental Neurology from Lund University, Sweden, and more lately he worked for 4 years at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA.
Andreas has extensive experience on developing AAV technologies, including how such technologies can be used to affect and change synaptic transmission and plasticity in order to treat CNS-related disorders.
KENNETH LINDEGAARD MADSEN
Co-Founder & Scientific Advisor
Kenneth is Associate Professor at Molecular Neurophamacology and Genetics Group, Department of Neuroscience at University of Copenhagen.
Kenneth’s has a strong expertise on protein-protein interactions and cellular trafficking processes related to synaptic transmission. Kenneth has more than 20 years of experience with the biology of the synaptic scaffold protein PICK1 and has solved the molecular structure. Moreover, he has developed a novel quantitative method for assessing binding of scaffold proteins to membrane proteins in their native membrane environment. Together these efforts have enabled the rational design and patenting of bivalent, high-affinity inhibitors to potently target PICK1 in pain and addiction.
Kenneth has a strong national and international network with researchers covering organic chemistry, synthetic biology, structural biology, cell biology, synaptic transmission and pain physiology.
Co-Founder & Scientific Advisor
Ulrik is Professor of Neuropharmacology and Head of Department of Neuroscience at University of Copenhagen.
Ulrik Gether obtained his MD degree in 1990 and his DMSc degree in 2000. After working three years as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Nobel Laureate Prof. Brian Kobilka at Stanford University, he received the Ole Roemer Award enabling him to start his own laboratory at University of Copenhagen in 1996. He has received extensive external funding for his research including funding for several Centers of Excellence.
Ulrik Gether’s lab has long-standing expertise in studying the molecular, cellular and physiological function of monoamine receptors and transporters.
Ulrik together with Kenneth Madsen pioneered the pharmacological targeting of PDZ domain proteins, such as PICK1, and developed and patented the first small molecule inhibitors for this type of proteins together with Neurosearch A/S.
Business Development & Co-Founder
Niels is educated as a pharmacist and subsequent obtained a PhD in Medicinal Chemistry in 1995. Niels has 25 years of working experience from both biotech and pharma industry and he has a broad understanding of drug development processes, ranging from early idea phase until commercialization.
Niels started his career at ACADIA Pharmaceuticals as department head and responsible for medicinal chemistry activities, with focus on delivering novel, potent and selective small molecules targeting pharmacological receptors within CNS.
Before co-founding ZYNEYRO, Niels has had several business development positions within both private and public functions. Lately, Niels was employed as business development manager at the Technology Transfer Office at University of Copenhagen.