Strasbourg, France, January 30, 2012 - Domain Therapeutics announced today that it has been awarded a grant from The Michael J. Fox Foundation (http://www.michaeljfox.org) for the optimization and pharmacological characterization of novel metabotropic glutamate receptor III (mGluR3) Positive Allosteric Modulators (PAMs) to treat Parkinson's disease (PD).
The one-year grant of USD 300,000 was awarded under the Foundation's therapeutics development initiative aimed at supporting pre-clinical development of Parkinson’s disease therapies that have the potential to alter disease course and improve the treatment of symptoms beyond current standards of care.
“Our Foundation is committed to finding a disease-modifying therapy for Parkinson’s disease, the major unmet need for those living with Parkinson’s today,” said Mark Frasier, PhD, director of research programs MJFF. “Domain Therapeutics’ mGluR3 program has the potential to provide new insight into the development of treatments that could slow the progression of the disease.”
Parkinson’s disease results from a progressive loss of brain cells that produce dopaminergic neurons. Current marketed drugs for Parkinson’s disease help patients manage many of their symptoms but do not prevent disease progression. Compounds acting as mGluR3 PAMs constitute a novel and promising neuroprotective mechanism of action through the activation of glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), an endogenous protein capable of protecting and promoting the survival of dopamine neurons. In addition to its robust neuroprotective activity, GDNF has already been shown to exert motor improvements both in pre-clinical models and in the clinic. However, as it is a relatively large protein, GDNF’s clinical use has been restricted. The possibility of enhancing striatal GDNF levels with orally bioavailable small molecules could, therefore, be a breakthrough in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.
"We are grateful for The Michael J. Fox Foundation's support of our mGluR3 PAM program. This award validates the relevance of our innovative approach to developing novel treatments for Parkinson’s disease and our expertise in the field,” said Pascal Neuville, PhD., chief executive officer of Domain Therapeutics. "With no less than three programs in the field of Parkinson’s disease, including one partnered with Merck-Serono, we are committed to bringing forward innovative drug candidates with disease-modifying potential for the benefit of Parkinson’s disease patients."
About Parkinson's disease
Parkinson's disease is a chronic and progressive neurological disorder that is characterized by a number of symptoms including tremors, limb stiffness, slowness of movements and difficulties with posture and balance. It is estimated that over one and a half million people in the United States suffer from the disease. Parkinson's disease is more prevalent in people over 60 years of age and the incidence of the disease is expected to increase as the average age of the population increases.
About Domain Therapeutics
Domain Therapeutics is a biopharmaceutical company located in Strasbourg, France, dedicated to the discovery and early development of small molecules targeting G-Protein Coupled Receptors (GPCRs), one of the most important classes of drug targets. Domain Therapeutics discovers allosteric modulators by exploiting its innovative and proprietary DTect-All(TM) technology. The company's pipeline is composed of new chemical entities, ranging from hits to optimized leads for significant indications such as schizophrenia, Parkinson's disease and diabetes. For more information, please visit http://www.domaintherapeutics.com.
About The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research
As the world’s largest private funder of Parkinson’s research, The Michael J. Fox Foundation is dedicated to accelerating a cure for Parkinson’s disease and improved therapies for those living with the condition today. The Foundation pursues its goals through an aggressively funded, highly targeted research program coupled with active global engagement of scientists, Parkinson’s patients, business leaders, clinical trial participants, donors and volunteers. In addition to funding more than USD 275 million in research to date, the Foundation has fundamentally altered the trajectory of progress toward a cure. Operating at the hub of worldwide Parkinson’s research, the foundation forges groundbreaking collaborations with industry leaders, academic scientists and government research funders; increases the flow of participants into Parkinson’s disease clinical trials with its online tool, Fox Trial Finder; promotes Parkinson’s awareness through high-profile advocacy, events and outreach and coordinates the grassroots involvement of thousands of Team Fox members around the world. Now through December 31, 2012, all new and increased giving to The Michael J. Fox Foundation, as well as gifts from donors who have not given since 2009 or earlier, will be matched on a dollar-for-dollar basis with the USD 50-million Brin Wojcicki Challenge, launched by Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki. For more information, please visit http://www.michaeljfox.org
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