Researchers from the University of Sheffield’s Institute for Translational Neuroscience (SITraN) have been awarded a $700,000 drug development grant to progress a potential targeted therapy for motor neuron disease (MND) into clinical trials. The grant, awarded by Australian charity FightMND, will support SITraN’s partnership with Aclipse Therapeutics to progress a disease-modifying drug candidate – M102 – into first in-human trials for patients with the neurodegenerative disease.
Professor Dame Pamela Shaw, Director of SITraN and the NIHR Sheffield Biomedical Research Centre said: “M102 has properties which allow multiple protective pathways to be activated within the nervous system and we are very hopeful that it may have beneficial effects in slowing the progression of MND. We are very excited for MND patients, as FightMND is supporting our effort to advance this important therapy – which was discovered in SITraN as a neuroprotective molecule and which looks so promising in preclinical models – into clinical trials for our patients. Our collaboration with Aclipse Therapeutics has been very productive and we are hugely grateful that FightMND are supporting us.”
Neuroprotective properties in M102 were discovered by SITraN researchers in 2013. Preclinical models evidenced the potential for M102 to stop and reverse MND progression, which affects a patient’s ability to walk, talk, eat and breathe. M102 may lead to significant slowing and reversal of disease progression in both familial and sporadic MND patients. The FightMND grant will also support the development of patient biomarkers that will be applied in the clinical studies and potentially enable a personalised medicine approach for M102.
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