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Science news

From concept to commercialisation – Blueberry Therapeutics is going the distance


Blueberry Therapeutics is gearing up to expand its drug development and discovery programme, having reached a major milestone this year by getting its first drug candidate into clinical trials.

The company, which six years ago became the first to join the incubator at Alderley Park, is currently focused on dermatological disorders.

Its lead programme, known as BB2603, is a treatment for onychomycosis, a nail fungus that affects millions of people around the world. It can affect up to 90% of people aged over 70 years. The nails become thickened, disfigured and often split. This can cause physical as well as psychological distress.

Current treatments are oral medications which either do not work well or have potentially serious side effects. Blueberry’s approach seeks to cure onychomycosis with a treatment applied directly to the nail.

“Our plan involves taking BB2063 efficiently through clinical development and then in around two years we’ll seek a New Drug Application (NDA) and set about entering the US market,” explains CEO and co-founder John Ridden.

Blueberry may also help tackle Tinea pedis (athlete’s foot), which has a similarly huge global market, affecting one in five adults.

The company recently completed part 1 of its first Phase I/II Clinical trial in patients with both onychomycosis and tinea pedis. In this first phase, BB2603 was safe and well tolerated by patients. “We were further delighted to see that BB2603 killed the disease causing fungus in both the skin and the nail with major improvements in signs and symptoms of fungal disease”, said John Ridden, “We are now moving forward towards our goal of phase III clinical development and launch!”

It is hoped that the success of these fungal infection programmes will generate the necessary revenue to progress with Blueberry’s longer term aspirations creating new antibiotics to help tackle the global health crisis around antimicrobial resistance.

Alderley Park has proved to be the optimum base from which to research, collaborate and evolve, according to Blueberry CEO and co-founder John Ridden.

“Alderley Park was the ideal place to start as we had access to top quality laboratory and office space and were also able to lease equipment. It was also ideal in that a small company like ours works with a lot of contract research organisations and thanks to the thriving life science ecosystem at Alderley Park we were able to access a number of different providers here on  the site. We currently work with five companies, all based at Alderley Park. We really do have all of the companies and assets we need here to help move programmes forward.”

He also believes the location shows the intent of the business. “We encourage partners of ours and collaborators to come visit. I think they have a real sense of shock and awe when they first arrive at the reception area. It’s such an incredible site. The positioning is well placed for visitors coming from around the globe with an airport just 30 minutes away and less than two hours train journey from London Euston. The connectivity is excellent.”

Katie Droogan