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Aug 13, 2012
 |  BioCentury  |  Emerging Company Profile

Wilson Therapeutics: Clearing copper

Biotech Wilson repurposing cancer drug to prevent metal buildup in rare disease

Wilson Therapeutics AB is repurposing a metal-binding cancer compound into a therapy for Wilson's disease, a rare hereditary condition that leads to accumulation of toxic levels of copper. The compound, Decuprate, may be a safer alternative to standard-of-care copper chelators for a subset of Wilson's disease patients with neurological symptoms.

Wilson's disease is caused by mutations in ATPase Cu++ transporting beta polypeptide (ATP7B), a copper transporter that helps dispose of dietary copper into bile. Patients are unable to excrete dietary copper and develop hepatic and neurological problems during adolescence.

"Wilson's is a fairly common 'uncommon' disease, with 10,000 or so patients in the U.S. and about 15,000 in Europe," said CEO Jonas Hansson. Hansson is also a partner at Swedish venture firm HealthCap, which is the...

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