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Canbex Therapeutics Raises $ 3.2 million to Develop Treatment for Debilitating Muscle Spasms Associated with MS

April 9, 2013

The National MS Society is pleased to report that Canbex Therapeutics Ltd. has completed a $3.2 million (£2.1m) fundraising round that will enable it to finish the early development of a potential therapy for the debilitating muscle spasms known as spasticity in MS. Merck Serono Ventures led the financing for this round. This success leverages an initial investment in Canbex in 2010 by the National MS Society’s Fast Forward drug development arm, validating the concept of seeding early development to speed therapies to people with MS.

Spasticity is a common and often painful symptom of MS that involves feelings of stiffness, tightness or sudden movements caused by a wide range of involuntary muscle spasms. Many of the current treatments for spasticity can cause significant side effects, such as muscle weakness, sedation or mood alteration that can limit their application in MS. Canbex aims to develop a new therapy called VSN16R in hopes of creating a better treatment for spasticity affecting people with all forms of MS, including progressive MS.

Canbex is a spin-out of University College London (UCL) and was founded by a leading scientific and clinical team including Dr. David Baker and Dr. David Selwood, who were later joined by Dr. Gavin Giovannoni, a practicing MS clinician who is a global leader in MS drug development and clinical research. Drs. Giovannoni and Baker were also research leaders in the Society’s Promise 2010 Nervous System Repair and Protection teams.

Other participants in the current financing round included UCL Business PLC, and the Wellcome Trust, through release of funding from a 2011 Translation Award.

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding and moving us closer to a world free of MS. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide.


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