The University of Arizona

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Startup to develop compound discovered by Prof. Gunatilaka and Natural Products Center

Sunday, April 3, 2016

The compound, called withaferin A, was first isolated from the Winter Cherry plant by Dr. Leslie Gunatilaka and colleagues Dr. E.M. Kithsiri Wijeratne, assistant research scientist at SNRE; Dr. Yaming Xu, research associate at SNRE; and Dr. Dennis Ray from the School of Plant Sciences. Now, the prodrug technology has been licensed by Yumanity Therapeutics, Inc through a collaboration between the School of Natural Resources and the Environment's Natural Product Center, Tech Launch Arizona, and the Whitehead Institute

Prof. Gunatilaka and his colleagues hope that withaferin A may have applications as a treatment for neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's. As of now, there "are no approved disease-modifying therapies available" to treat these diseases. 

Learn more at Tech Launch Arizona.