BALTIMORE, MD--(Marketwire - December 05, 2012) - Cerecor Inc today announced that it has signed an option with Johns Hopkins University (JHU) for an exclusive license to develop and commercialize small molecule D-Amino Acid Oxidase inhibitors ("DAAO inhibitors") that were developed at the Johns Hopkins Brain Science Institute ("BSi").
DAAO inhibitors inhibit the degradation of D-serine, an amino acid which has a central role in the normal function of the glutamate / NMDA system in the human brain. Growing evidence suggests that deficits in glutamate transmission are central to the neurobiology of schizophrenia. D-serine, when administered in multi-gram quantities per day, has been shown in multiple studies to improve cognition (executive function) and reduce positive symptoms in schizophrenics. DAAO inhibition in the brain, as a means of increasing D-serine levels, has been a target for treating schizophrenia by major pharmaceutical companies for many years.
"This approach to improving glutamate transmission is to administer DAAO inhibitors systemically along with small, supplemental doses of D-serine, in a simple and elegant fashion analogous to the use of Sinemet® for the treatment of Parkinson's Disease, as originally conceptualized by Drs. Solomon Snyder and Barbara Slusher," said Dr. Blake Paterson, co-founder and CEO of Cerecor. "The licensing of the DAAO inhibitor platform will be an important milestone in the development of a novel therapeutic for schizophrenic patients, for whom persistent cognition dysfunction is widely recognized as an important gap in current therapeutic approaches."
Under the terms of the agreement with JHU, Cerecor will fund final lead selection efforts already underway at the BSi via a sponsored research agreement. Under the terms of the agreement, once BSi attains pre-specified lead candidate selection criteria, Cerecor plans to sign an exclusive, world-wide license agreement and assume development of the lead DAAO inhibitor candidate(s). JHU will receive an initial license fee and additional payments based upon achievement of specified development and commercialization milestones as well as royalties on net sales.
In 2013, Cerecor intends to complete the technology transfer activities and further examine the development and clinical profile of the lead candidate(s). This strategic evaluation will further inform potential implications for an early development clinical program.
About Cerecor: Cerecor Inc is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of prescription pharmaceuticals whose primary activity is in the human nervous system. We are a Delaware corporation, based in Baltimore and co-founded in April 2011 by Drs. Solomon Snyder, Barbara Slusher, Blake Paterson and Mr. Isaac Blech. Cerecor is focused on translational medicine -- the accelerated transfer of technology from the academic laboratory to early human trials, with the mission of commercializing therapeutics that make a difference.