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Australian University and Hammond Based Biotech Collaborate

A Hammond-based biotechnology firm collaborates with the University of Western Australia to research medications to treat neurodegenerative disorders and the pain associated with spinal cord injuries. Neuro Vigor’s research focuses on neutralizing reactive aldehydes, which are essential in conditions including multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. Mark Van Fleet, co-founder, and CEO says there is a “huge need for creative ideas, and that’s what we represent.”

Van Fleet said the collaboration represents advances in research to combat reactive aldehydes in an interview with Inside Indiana Business. Van Fleet said, “They have a lot of expertise in finding new chemical entities, new molecules, new potential drug candidates that could be what we need in terms of reducing these reactive aldehydes.”

Reactive aldehydes are highly poisonous chemicals generated by cells when they are stressed or traumatized internally or externally. They’re more common in neurodegenerative illnesses, SCI, and other ailments, according to Van Fleet, and can harm tissue at the cellular and molecular levels. Dr. Riyi Shi, the Mari Hulman George endowed professor of applied neuroscience and head of Purdue’s Center for Paralysis Research, co-founded Neuro Vigor, a Purdue University-affiliated startup.

According to Van Fleet, Shi and Phil Burcham of the University of Western Australia are the foremost experts in this subject. Both sides needed each other to advance drug development. The collaboration is a two-year research and development project, with the Indiana Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Fund and the University of Washington funding the first stage.The collaboration’s primary goal, according to Van Fleet, is to reduce spinal cord injury suffering. The partnership will begin with preclinical medication development, determining which of the compounds discovered by UWA researchers has the most significant potential for lowering reactive aldehydes.

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