Courage Therapeutics Inc., of Newton, Mass., said it received a phase I Small Business Technology Transfer grant from the NIH to design compounds for treating anorexia nervosa. Courage said it will begin developing peptides promoting activity of a protein, the melanocortin 3 receptor, which may play a role in regulating food intake. The research will focus on optimizing compounds and testing their efficacy to improve proprietary drug candidates that Courage and researchers at the University of Michigan collaboratively designed.

E-therapeutics plc, of Oxford, U.K., said it met two key milestones triggering payments in its collaboration with Galapagos NV, of Mechelen, Belgium. E-therapeutics said it identified hit compounds against a specific biological process of interest to Galapagos involved in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and potentially in other fibrotic indications. The testing yielded a hit rate orders of magnitude higher than industry standards for early phenotypic drug discovery, according to the company. E-therapeutics is eligible to receive additional milestone payments through preclinical and clinical development as well as commercial milestones.

Ethypharm SA, of Saint-Cloud, France, said it now has a fully established affiliate to operate directly in Italy, the third largest pharmaceutical market in Europe. The company’s roots are in China and Europe. Ethypharm Italy Srl is headquartered in Padova, Italy. The company focuses on CNS diseases.

Preclinical research from Life Biosciences Inc., of Boston, demonstrated clinical benefit of its chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA) activator platform in mice models of Alzheimer's disease. CMA controls soluble protein levels in cells. The age-related decline of CMA, the company said, may lead to an increased concentration of insoluble proteins that could play a role in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease. The study demonstrated that the upregulation of CMA with one of Life Biosciences' tool oral compounds significantly improved neurologic function and decreased the accumulation of insoluble protein aggregates in two different mouse models of Alzheimer's disease, even after the onset of neurologic dysfunction.

Reven Holdings Inc., of Westminster, Colo., said it launched a translational oncology program as a new drug discovery and development initiative aimed at changing the therapeutic landscape for difficult-to-treat forms of cancer. The goal is to treat cancer patients more effectively by altering the tumor microenvironment, the company said. Reven said it will employ its lead compound, RJX, for targeting transforming growth factor-beta signaling, which the company said can limit T-cell infiltration to the tumor microenvironment and inhibits T cells as well as natural killer cells with leads to a diminished antitumor immune response.