Work with the Parkinson's Virtual Biotech

As Europe's largest charitable funder of Parkinson's research, we invest in drug discovery and clinical trials to accelerate life-changing new treatments for people with the condition.

We’re working flexibly, creatively and collaboratively with co-investors, institutions and companies worldwide who share our vision to drive forward drug development and clinical trials.

We’re always looking for new projects and opportunities to drive forward better treatments for Parkinson’s, including both disease-modifying and symptomatic treatments.

Get in touch

Do you have an idea or a discovery with the potential to lead to a new treatment for Parkinson’s? Are you interested in bringing this to the clinic? We can partner with you to develop the most promising projects.

Email [email protected]

Our projects

  • A collaboration between the University of Sheffield, Keapstone Therapeutics and Parkinson's UK to develop KEAP1 inhibitors/Nrf2 activators
  • Developing molecules that increase the activity of genes to increase dopamine synthesis and boost the production of neuroprotective proteins
  • Developing novel mPTP inhibitors to safeguard the dopaminergic cells and slow progression of Parkinson's
  • Programme to identify and refine novel compounds that rescue mitochondrial function with reduced off-target effects
  • Project to discover brain penetrant modulators of a microglial cell-surface protein implicated in Parkinson’s progression
  • Programme to develop disease-modifying therapeutics, which restore lysosomal function and combat neurodegeneration in Parkinson’s and other related conditions
  • A phase 2 randomised controlled trial to investigate a novel serotonin 5-HT1A receptor agonist for the treatment of L-DOPA-induced dyskinesia
  • A 6-week pilot and 12-week randomised controlled trial to provide preliminary evidence for the safety and efficacy of cannabidiol (CBD) for the treatment of Parkinson's-related psychosis
  • A phase 2 randomised controlled trial to investigate whether ondansetron is safe and effective for treating hallucinations in Parkinson's and Lewy body dementia
  • A programme to create and prepare a new phase 2 randomised controlled trial to investigate the potential of device-delivered GDNF as a disease-modifying therapy for Parkinson's
  • New clinical trial to test a drug with potential to treat Parkinson's dementia
  • A multi-centre randomised double-blind placebo-controlled phase 3 study involving 330 people with Parkinson's (with and without GBA mutations) testing ambroxol over 2 years
  • A phase 2 randomised, double-blind controlled trial of an oral drug to reduce neuroinflammation in people with Rapid Eye Movement Sleep Behaviour Disorder who are at high risk of developing Parkinson's

Meet the team

Arthur Roach PhD, Director of the Parkinson's Virtual Biotech

Before joining Parkinson's UK, Arthur held several academic and industrial positions. Most recently as Senior Director, Neurodegenerative Diseases Research at Serono (now Merck). He is also a founder and Head of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Swiss-based biotech Chord Therapeutics.

Shona Clegg, Clinical Studies Portfolio Manager

As Clinical Studies Portfolio Manager, Shona manages the clinical trials side of the Parkinson's Virtual Biotech portfolio. Shona has developed a wealth of experience in CNS trials and brain imaging over the last 20 years in both academia and industry. She provides expertise in end-to-end services for clinical trials working with both pharmaceutical and biotech companies, and investigator-led trials from start-up to close-out.

Janusz Kulagowski PhD, Drug Discovery Manager (Chemistry)

Prior to taking on his current role as Drug Discovery Manager at Parkinson's UK, Jan spent 20 years working in neuroscience at Merck & Co. He also brings expertise in contract research from his position at Argenta Discovery.

Professor David Dexter, Director of Research

Professor in Neuropharmacology, with expertise in the pathophysiology of neurodegenerative conditions and drug development. David was previously Deputy Head of the Division of Brain Sciences, at Imperial College London. In 2002 he established the Parkinson’s UK Tissue Bank and served as the Scientific Director.

Iwona Ziomkiewicz PhD, Drug Discovery Manager (Biology)

Iwona joined Parkinson’s UK in September 2022 as a Drug Discovery Manager representing the biology specialisation. She brings experience in cell-based assays for in vitro pharmacology and translational research of small and large molecules. Iwona has a strong background in mechanistic biology with a track record of working in oncology and neuroscience therapeutic areas.

David Tickle PhD, Drug Discovery Manager (Chemistry)

David has over 20 years' experience across a number of Pharma companies with broad experience across multiple target classes including Ion Channels, Proteases and Kinases. Most recently he spent 14 years at LifeArc where he was a senior principal scientist with responsibility for medicinal chemistry, analytical science encompassing ADME/PK, phys chem profiling, and protein mass spectrometry.

Alan Naylor PhD

Alan is an independent drug discovery consultant and a medicinal chemist with over 30 years of experience in research and development.

Michael Rowley PhD

Mike is an independent consultant in medical chemistry and works with a range of organisations, including contract research organisations, biotechs, law firms, and a university.

John Davis PhD

John is the Director of Business Development at the Alzheimer's Research UK Drug Discovery Alliance.

Professor Manfred Auer

Manfred is the group leader for his lab, The Auer Lab. You can find out more about The Auer Lab on its website.

Ann Hayes PhD

Ann is a Pharmaceutical Consultant, has co-funded 2 drug discovery start-ups and worked for GSK for 22 years.

Damian Crowther PhD FRCP

Damian is Entrepreneur in Residence with the Life Sciences team at Cambridge Innovation Capital.