Collaborative Fund Progress - National Multiple Sclerosis Society

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2009

The following are the recipients from the Accelerating Commercial Development Fund:

Innate Immunotherapeutics Limited, Auckland, New Zealand (Project Director – Simon Wilkinson) will receive $550,000 over 15 months to conduct a Phase IIa clinical trial in patients with progressive forms of MS using MIS416, a naturally occurring agent derived from bacteria.

Cognosci Inc., Research Triangle Park, NC (Project Director – Feng Qiao Li, PhD) will receive $330,000 over 12 months for the efficacy testing of COG112, a molecule that mimics actions of the cholesterol transporting protein, ApoE. In the funded studies, the company will evaluate the ability of COG112 to promote myelin repair in the central nervous system (CNS) in laboratory models of MS.

The following organizations will receive financing from the Accelerating Innovation Fund:

CenTRion Therapeutics Limited, a spin out of the University of Greenwich, UK, (Project Director – Michael Leach, PhD) will receive $275,000 over 12 months for studies with compounds, related to lamotrigine, an approved epilepsy therapy, which some studies suggest also can protect nerve cells from damage. CenTrion will conduct research to determine the safety and efficacy of its original neuroprotective compounds in laboratory models of MS.

Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR, (Project Director – Lawrence Sherman, PhD) will receive $275,000 for the screening and efficacy of small molecule inhibitors of hyaluronidase, an enzyme that dissolves hyaluronic acid – a complex sugar molecule that accumulates in MS lesions. Dr. Sherman’s group has found that by-products resulting from breakdown of hyalunoric acid prevent myelin repair. This project will assess whether myelin repair blockage can be overcome by inhibiting the activity of hyaluronidase. 

2010

The following are the recipients from the Accelerating Commercial Development Fund:

Axxam SpA, Milan, Italy (Project Director – Michela Stucchi, PhD) will receive $430,590 over 18 months to advance the development of small molecules that target the sodium-calcium exchanger NCX1 on axons. NCX1 functioning in reverse mode is thought to cause nerve cell death in MS. Axxam is developing molecules to prevent NCX1 activation and thus prevent axonal injury and ultimately clinical disability in MS.

The following organizations will receive financing from the Accelerating Innovation Fund:

Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Carlton, Victoria, Australia (Project Director – Bevyn Jarrott, PhD) will receive $275,000 over 12 months to advance the development of molecules that target Nav 1.6 ion channels. In MS, there is a change in these ion channels, which contributes to abnormal nerve function. This project will focus on molecules which could potentially prevent this abnormal function, thereby protecting axons from further damage.

The Gladstone Institutes/UCSF (Project Director- Katerina Akassoglou, PhD) will receive $300,000 to conduct testing for the identification of small molecule inhibitors of microglial activation. Microglia are part of the resident immune system in the brain and spinal cord. Activation of microglia in MS is thought to contribute to the inflammation and nerve cell damage associated with MS. In the funded studies, the investigators will focus on developing novel molecules that have the potential to inhibit the activation of microglia in MS. 

2011

The following are the recipients from the Accelerating Commercial Development Fund:

Axxam SpA, Milan, Italy (Project Director – Chiara Liberati, PhD) will receive $402,000 over 12 months to identify antagonists of the chloride intracellular channel 1 expressed by activated microglia, which could form the basis for the development of potential new treatments for neurodegeneration in MS.

ACADIA Pharmaceuticals / University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) (Project Directors - Roger Olsson, Ph.D. and Rhonda Voskuhl, M.D.) will receive $545,380 over 12 months to perform research to identify estrogen receptor beta agonist as a potential treatment of MS.

Vicore Pharma AB / Uppsala University and Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin

(Project Directors: Professor Mats Larhed and Dr. Ulrike Steckelings) will receive $531,300 over 18 months to perform research to identify angiotensin AT2-receptor agonists as a potential treatment of MS. 

2012

The following are the recipients from the Accelerating Commercial Development Fund:

Euroscreen SA, Gosselies, Belgium

(Project Director: Dr. Sébastien Hannedouche) will receive $501,657 over 12 months for the identification of ligands for up to five "orphan" GPCRs which may play pathogenic or protective roles in MS, in search of therapeutic targets that may stop MS disease processes or stimulate myelin repair.  

The following organizations will receive financing from the Accelerating Innovation Fund:

Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia

(Project Director: Dr. Randy Hall) will receive $471,333 over 21 months to explore the importance of two orphan G protein-coupled receptors in the control of myelin-making cells, as potential therapeutic targets to stimulate myelin repair.

University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, San Diego, California

(Project Director: Dr. Joan Heller Brown) will receive $285,000 over 18 months to perform research to identify a subset of G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) that activate astrocyte proliferation and inflammatory pathways through coupling to the G protein G alpha 12/13 subunits and activation of RhoA, to identify therapeutic targets that could stop MS disease processes and even pave the way for myelin repair.

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