Non-profit to accelerate development of a potential new Parkinson’s drug
The funding, to be spread over a twelve-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.
Although L-DOPA is the most effective drug for treating Parkinson's, 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 per cent) 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 to combat the lost opportunities in drug discovery and early clinical development caused by the changing pharma landscape, 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.
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.
“With dyskinesia, everyday tasks, such as eating, writing and walking, can become extremely difficult. In fact, two thirds of people with Parkinson’s have told us it is one of the most critical issues that impacts quality of life. With this new project, we hope to be able to deliver a potential treatment that will help address this global problem.”
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.
Dr Roach continued: “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.”
Parkinson's is a progressive neurological condition caused by the unexplained death of brain cells that create a chemical called dopamine. Without dopamine people experience slowness of movement, rigidity and a tremor. As well as affecting movement, people with Parkinson's can find that other issues, such as tiredness, pain, depression and constipation, can have an impact on their day-to-day lives. It affects an estimated seven to 10 million people worldwide, making it one of the most common neurodegenerative conditions.
2017 marked 200 years since James Parkinson first recognised the condition in his Essay on the Shaking Palsy. Although medical breakthroughs such as L-DOPA, which was developed more than 50 years ago, is used by millions across the world to control the symptoms of Parkinson's, there is no known cure.
For more information please contact: Kirsty Callingham, Senior Media and PR Officer, Parkinson’s UK, 020 7932 9311, firstname.lastname@example.org
Out of hours: 07961 460248
Every hour, two people in the UK are told they have Parkinson's
145,000 people are diagnosed with the condition – that’s around one adult in every 350.
Parkinson's is a degenerative neurological condition, for which there currently is no cure. The main symptoms of the condition are tremor, slowness of movement and rigidity.
Parkinson's UK is the UK's leading charity supporting those with the condition. Its mission is to find a cure and improve life for everyone affected by Parkinson's through cutting edge research, information, support and campaigning.
For advice, information and support, visit www.parkinsons.org.uk or call our free, confidential helpline on 0808 800 0303.
Neurolixis, located in Dana Point, California, is a privately held biotechnology company developing therapies for disorders of the central nervous system. The Company has two clinical programs: NLX-112 is a Phase 2-ready program targeting LID, and NLX-101 is a Phase 1 drug candidate targeting Rett syndrome. Additional discovery programs are targeting psychiatric disorders such as depression and schizophrenia. Further information is available at www.neurolixis.com.