Lead asset LCGA-17—with indications in PTSD, MDD, and anxiety—is currently at the pre-IND stage. In 2021, Lactocore Group applied for two patents related to peptide therapeutic agents that treat mental disorders and metabolic disorders as type 2 diabetes.
The privately-funded company has experience in peptide R&D with a proprietary computational peptide discovery engine with AI-enabled modules, utilizing rapid and cost-efficient proof of principle studies that cut the costs of drug discovery.
"This is an exciting time to be in the peptide space," said Lactocore CEO, Anton Malyshev, Ph.D.
"Peptides isolated from milk hydrolysates offer tremendous advantages over conventional pharmaceuticals for treating chronic diseases due to inherent safety, and Lactocore is poised to leverage its research to bring a new suite of safe and highly effective drugs to a burgeoning mental healthcare market."
Lactocore's research has identified a previously unknown family of peptides with biological activity in anxiety and depression through the proprietary hydrolysis of whey and casein from bovine milk.
Through the use of mass spectrometry, bioinformatics analysis, and a proprietary 3D docking and scoring algorithms, Lactocore has been able to narrow the number of relevant peptides to those that best fit binding sites of pre-selected receptors thought to induce signaling cascades similar to "rapid" antidepressants. Based on these findings, a computational peptide discovery engine, Reptide, with AI-enabled modules for de novo peptide discovery is currently being developed to efficiently solve recurrent problems in structure optimization.
Lactocore is studying its peptides in vitro and in vivo, examining their efficacy, preliminary toxicity and safety, and mechanisms of action. Its leading patented candidate, LCGA-17, is targeted against anxiety and depression, with potential in also treating PTSD and neuropathic pain. LCGA-17 is a novel α2δ voltage-gated calcium channel (VGCC) subunit inhibitor with a differentiated efficacy profile and no safety liabilities when compared to current standards of care.
LCGA-17 intranasal formulations administered once-daily deliver rapid onset of action and prolonged effect. Based on Lactocore's preclinical research, the company said it would also carry few to no side effects (such as drowsiness), would be non-toxic, and would not be addictive.