General

Parkinson's UK to fund development of new drug

Amy Schofield 25 January 2018

Parkinson’s UK is to provide more than $1million in funding to US biotech company, Neurolixis, to accelerate the development of a promising new drug for people with Parkinson’s.

The funding, which will be spread over a 12-month period, will support final pre-clinical studies for NLX-112, a novel serotonin 5-HT1A receptor agonist for the treatment of L-DOPA-induced dyskinesia.

L-DOPA is currently the most effective drug for treating Parkinson's, however its long-term use is often complicated by significantly disabling dyskinesias – or involuntary movements – reducing the beneficial effect of the drug.

Dyskinesia affects millions of people around the world, with around half (40 to 50%) of all people with Parkinson’s experiencing it after five years of taking L-DOPA.

Neurolixis will now carry out final pre-clinical development of NLX-112, including testing in advanced pharmacology models prior to advancing NLX-112 into clinical studies.

This is the second project funded by Parkinson’s UK’s Virtual Biotech initiative. Launched last year, the Virtual Biotech allows the charity to provide leadership and critical funding in partnership with a range of other organisations that have the facilities and staff to carry out scientific work on a contract basis.

NLX-112 was discovered and developed by French pharma company, Pierre Fabre Médicament, as a potential treatment for pain. After reaching phase two clinical trials, it was out-licensed to Neurolixis, which identified an opportunity to re-purpose the drug for the treatment of L-DOPA-induced dyskinesia.

Director of Research and Development at Parkinson’s UK, Dr Arthur Roach, said: “Being able to use our Virtual Biotech venture to accelerate the development of promising a new treatment that could potentially prevent L-DOPA-induced dyskinesia is very exciting for us and for people with Parkinson’s across the world.

“Because this drug has already reached phase two clinical trials in the past, we already know a lot about its safety in humans. This means that, should this last pre-clinical study go well, we could be seeing a new treatment for Parkinson’s within as little as five years."

Dr Mark Varney, Co-founder, President and Chief Executive Officer at Neurolixis, said: “We greatly appreciate Parkinson’s UK supporting this program. This grant will now enable us to move the NLX-112 program through the necessary regulatory steps in preparation for clinical trials in Parkinson’s patients.”

 

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