Fast Forward Partner Apitope International N.V. Reaches Key Milestone in Phase I Peptide Therapy Study
December 14, 2012
The National MS Society and Fast Forward are devoted to bridging the gap between research and drug development, and pleased to announce that Apitope International NV has completed recruitment for a phase I study of the peptide therapy ATX-MS-1467 in 40 people with relapsing forms of MS.
Fast Forward’s first investment in Apitope established on-going commitment to facilitating progress by providing critical funds to academic groups and emerging biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies involved in drug research and development. By connecting people, ideas, and resources, promising drug treatments can now break through barriers, move through the pipeline, and enter clinical trials - faster.The clinical trial is being carried out at two hospitals in the United Kingdom, and 12 clinics in Russia. All participants have received at least one dose of treatment. A range of doses is being administered either into or under the skin once every two weeks for 16 weeks, and participants are being followed for another 32 weeks.
Multiple sclerosis involves an immune attack that is launched on the brain and spinal cord.
Apitope has developed a proprietary approach to identify peptides derived from human antigenic proteins that might be able to reinstate “immune tolerance” to the target antigen – in effect train immune cells to ignore target tissues – to suppress such an attack. ATX-MS-1467 is an equal parts mixture of four such peptides. An earlier clinical trial in 6 people with secondary-progressive MS indicated that the drug was well tolerated with early evidence of potential efficacy. The current study is seeking to determine the safety using a variety of measures, including the results of MRI scans, of this strategy. This study may yield findings that bring us closer to a potential novel targeted strategy that stops the MS immune attack in its tracks.
The agreement with Apitope was the first in a series of partnerships between Fast Forward and early stage biotechnology companies. Under terms of the agreement, Fast Forward is providing Apitope with up to $1 million toward the proof of principle clinical trial of ATX-MS-1467. In addition, Fast Forward will receive warrants for purchase of shares in the company. Subsequent to Fast Forward’s investment, the company entered into a $200 million research, development and license agreement with Merck Serono for development and commercialization the ATX-MS-1467 program.