"Finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease."
Entrepreneur: Dr. Lysimachos Zografos
College/School: Informatics and Biological Sciences
Company: Parkure Ltd
The Story: While a postdoctoral researcher, Dr Lysimachos Zografos began using genetically engineered fruit flies that develop a disease to discover new drugs. In order to speed up the discovery process, Parkure has adopted a drug re-purposing approach where they test drugs that have already been certified as safe for human use. Their system is cheap, fast and ready to go. They will test as many candidate drugs as possible, maximising the probability of identifying compounds that work and further co-developing these with pharmaceutical companies.
In 2012, Lysimachos came to Edinburgh Research and Innovation looking to develop the commercial aspects of his idea. He founded Parkure Ltd. In 2014 with the ambition of revolutionising treatment for Parkinson’s disease. The global market for drugs that simply treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s is currently $2.7 billion. However, Parkure’s focus of a cure for the disease would open up a new market, worth a conservative estimate of at least $3 billion. Parkure’s search for a cure could also lead to the discovery of new symptomatic treatments.
Because traditional sources of funding are often reluctant to back drug discovery ventures at their early stages, Lysimachos opted to use equity crowdfunding to raise finance in 2014. In addition to successfully raising more than £75,000 on ShareIn, Parkure was awarded a SMART Scotland grant from the Scottish Government in December 2014 to match the private investment raised by crowdfunding. Finally, Dr Zografos was also awarded a one-year RSE Enterprise Fellowship, which started in April 2015. At the end of his RSE Fellowship, Dr. Zografos was able to secure an Innovation Voucher through Interface as well as investment from Deepbride Capital LLP.