A UNIVERSITY of Edinburgh spin-out company aiming to develop a cure for Parkinson's disease has raised more than £75,000 in crowdfunding investment through technology-focused platform ShareIn.

Parkure said it had opted to use equity crowdfunding to raise finance because traditional sources of finance were often reluctant to back drug-discovery ventures at their early stages.

The ShareIn platform enabled Parkure to reach a wider network of individuals and organisations who could invest and receive shares in the company in return for their backing.

Parkure is using genetically-engineered fruit flies that develop Parkinson's disease to discover new drugs.

In an effort to speed up the discovery process, Parkure has adopted a drug-repurposing approach, whereby it tests drugs that have already been certified as safe for human use.

The company aims to test as many candidate drugs as possible, maximising the probability of identifying compounds which work and further co-developing these with pharmaceutical companies.

As well as raising more than £75,000 on ShareIn, Parkure was awarded a SMART Scotland grant from the Scottish Government in December to match the private investment raised by crowdfunding.

Lysimachos Zografos, chief executive officer of Parkure, said: "Crowdfunding can provide an excellent way to bridge the funding gap for early-stage companies."

He added: "We were the first who managed to bootstrap a biotechnology company using it and this was partly made possible by the invaluable help, guidance and mentoring we received from the Centre for Integrative Physiology and Edinburgh Research and Innovation's company formation team.

"We have a tough challenge ahead but now we are even more driven, committed and energised because all of those who supported us."