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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Geneuro Tries A Different Take On Multiple Sclerosis


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September 26, 2016

Multiple sclerosis therapies have so far largely focused on reducing inflammation or suppressing the immune response that leads to episodes of nervous system damage. Switzerland-based Geneuro is seeking to block a protein that triggers these downstream biological activities.
An investment from Servier and cash from an initial public offering earlier this year are backing a hypothesis that inhibiting multiple sclerosis-associated retrovirus envelope protein (MSRVenv) could slow the progress of the disease without raising the risk of infection. “Most of the drugs that exist today – which are great drugs and have reduced the number of flares – have been able to lower the number of attacks because they’ve been able to diminish the immune response,” says Geneuro’s chief executive, Jesus Martin-Garcia. “We don’t touch the immune system.”
Invasive genes
The agent, called GNbAC1, is a MAb blocking MSRVenv. In December, Geneuro launched a phase IIb European trial enrolling 260 patients with the hope of showing that neutralising MSRVenv can modify the growth of brain lesions that lead to disability in patients with the relapsing-remitting form of the disease – secondary endpoints will look for clinical improvement and signs of remyelination.
Earlier this month the trial, Change-MS, reached its halfway enrollment point. A focus on MSRVenv grew out of research on human endogenous retroviruses, or viral DNA that has been inserted into human genetic material – representing about 8% of human genes. MSRV is one of these, and is silent in most people – but in MS patients it appears to be active because MSRVenv has been found in their bloodstreams and brain lesions.

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