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Estonian GeneCode earns global acclaim for novel anti-Parkinson drug

Estonian HealthTech startup GeneCode has been named among Europe's top-10 Discovery and Development solution providers for its groundbreaking drug to slow Parkinson's disease.

The Life Sciences Review, one of the most prestigious scientific publications, has recognized Estonian drug development startup GeneCode as one of the top 10 Discovery and Development solution providers in Europe for 2023. GeneCode has successfully developed a drug to treat Parkinson’s disease.

Saving millions of lives

Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative condition of the nervous system, and it’s one of the most common neurodegenerative disorders. Currently, there are 10 million diagnosed cases worldwide, with projections to double by 2040. The economic impact of the disease is notable, with $51 billion in expenses in the United States in 2017 and €14 billion in Europe in 2010, expected to rise to €32 billion by 2037. A 2022 WHO report states that Parkinson’s disease is causing disability and death at an alarming rate compared to other neurological disorders worldwide.

Now, Estonian scientific and entrepreneurial efforts are uniting to combat this. Parkinson’s disease is not curable, but it is treatable, and this is where GeneCode’s efforts went into. Prof. Dr. Mart Saarma, CSO of GeneCode, shed light on the company’s research and development initiatives. “Currently, we are focusing on the development of drugs for Parkinson’s disease to slow its progression. Our future endeavours include work in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), retinitis pigmentosa (RP), and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD),” Prof. Dr Saarma explained.

Paavo Pilv, the CEO of GeneCode, expressed deep appreciation for the tireless efforts of the entire team. “Our focus is not merely on mitigating symptoms but potentially slowing down this debilitating disease’s progression,” said Pilv.

The Life Sciences Review annually curates a list of the top ten global companies that lead in drug R&D and significantly impact the industry within their respective regions. GeneCode’s inclusion in this esteemed list marks a historic moment, as it is the first Estonian drug development company to achieve this recognition.

This recognition follows another significant win for GeneCode. In summer 2023, the company was awarded a €16 million grant and equity investment option from the European Innovation Council’s (EIC) Accelerator to quicken the development of its drug candidate designed to slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease. In addition to this, the company has also received additional funding, including a €2 million grant in 2022 and a research and option agreement worth nearly €3 million in 2021. The company has also established a strategic partnership with French start-up studio ArgoBio.

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