CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Feb. 16, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- NeuroPhage Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced today that it has been awarded funding by The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) to conduct pre-clinical research targeting alpha-synuclein, a protein whose clumping is the pathological hallmark of Parkinson's disease (PD). This is NeuroPhage's first grant from MJFF.
"It is a privilege to collaborate with MJFF toward the development of our novel therapeutic approach. This grant will provide NeuroPhage with access to world class experts in PD and we look forward to a productive relationship with the Foundation," said Kimberley S. Gannon, PhD, Senior Vice President of Preclinical R&D at NeuroPhage.
NeuroPhage will test the effect of NPT001 (a novel therapeutic in development for Alzheimer's disease) on alpha-synuclein levels in a pre-clinical model of PD. In preliminary preclinical studies, NPT001 had been shown to reduce brain levels of alpha-synuclein.
"Alpha-synuclein is a high-priority target for our Foundation, as there is evidence that it may play a role in both genetic and idiopathic cases of PD," said Kuldip Dave, PhD, associate director of research programs at MJFF. "NeuroPhage's unique approach has the potential to reduce levels of alpha-synuclein in the brain, which could, in turn, lead to novel therapies to treat PD."
NeuroPhage's technology platform permits the development of therapeutics that target multiple misfolded proteins such as amyloid beta and tau (involved in Alzheimer's disease), as well as alpha-synuclein (involved in PD).
About Parkinson's Disease
Parkinson's disease is a chronic, progressive disorder of the central nervous system and results from the loss of cells in an area of the brain called the substantia nigra. These cells produce dopamine, a chemical messenger responsible for transmitting signals within the brain. Loss of dopamine causes critical nerve cells in the brain, or neurons, to fire out of control, leaving patients unable to direct or control their movement in a normal manner. The symptoms of Parkinson's may include tremors, difficulty maintaining balance and gait, rigidity or stiffness of the limbs and trunk, and general slowness of movement (also called bradykinesia). Patients may also eventually have difficulty walking, talking, or completing other simple tasks. Symptoms often appear gradually yet with increasing severity, and the progression of the disease may vary widely from patient to patient. There is no cure for Parkinson's disease. Drugs have been developed that can help patients manage many of the symptoms; however they do not prevent disease progression.
About The Michael J. Fox Foundation
The Michael J. Fox Foundation is dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson's disease through an aggressively funded research agenda and to ensuring the development of improved therapies for those living with Parkinson's today. The Foundation has funded over $275 million in research to date.
NeuroPhage is a biotechnology company focusing on a unique disease-modifying phage approach for treating protein aggregation diseases. NeuroPhage was founded in 2007 by a Cambridge-based team along with Professor Beka Solomon, Chair for Biotechnology of Neurodegenerative Diseases at Tel Aviv University.
SOURCE NeuroPhage Pharmaceuticals, Inc.