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Fast Forward and Concert Pharmaceuticals Announce Collaboration to Advance Novel Treatment for Spasticity and Pain in MS

March 5, 2012

Fast Forward, LLC, the National MS Society’s subsidiary devoted to bridging the gap between research and drug development, and Concert Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Lexington, MA) today announced a new collaboration to fund the preclinical advancement of C-21191, a substance that has been modulated to help improve an experimental therapy with the potential for treating spasticity and pain in MS. These are two common and often debilitating symptoms experienced by people with MS. Fast Forward is committing up to $750,000 to help advance development of C-21191 toward clinical trials in people with MS.

“We are pleased to partner with Concert on this new approach with the potential to treat spasticity and pain, symptoms that are so challenging to large numbers of people living with MS,” said Dr. Timothy Coetzee, Chief Research Officer at the National MS Society and Fast Forward. “This collaboration demonstrates our commitment to pursue and fund innovative medicines that can address unmet needs and improve the quality of life for people living with this disease.” Finding new ways to treat MS symptoms is a research priority for the National MS Society, whose comprehensive strategy propels research to stop MS progression, restore function, and end the disease forever.

“This collaboration with Fast Forward enables us to accelerate development of C-21191 and will provide our team with valuable insight into the management of symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis,” said Roger Tung, Ph.D., President and CEO of Concert Pharmaceuticals.

C-21191 is a chemical cousin of a substance (L-838417) that showed early promise for having properties for treating spasticity and pain without the sedation and coordination problems that can be side effects of currently available treatments. Eventually L-838417 did not turn out to have characteristics needed to bring it to human testing. Concert chemically modified L-838417 to create C-21191 with the aim of improving the way it works in the body. With the support of Fast Forward, Concert plans to complete a battery of preclinical toxicology and pharmacology studies which are necessary before beginning clinical trials in people with MS.

About Spasticity and Pain

Spasticity refers to feelings of stiffness and a wide range of involuntary muscle spasms (sustained muscle contractions or sudden movements). It is one of the more common symptoms of MS. Several types of pain are also commonly experienced by people with MS. Because MS symptoms and the needs of MS patients can be so different from person to person, developing new and more effective treatment options to manage those symptoms is essential.

About Fast Forward, LLC

Fast Forward, LLC, established by the National MS Society as part of a comprehensive approach to MS research and treatment, focuses on speeding promising research discoveries towards commercial drug development. Fast Forward accelerates the development of treatments for MS by connecting university-based MS research with private-sector drug development and by funding small biotechnology/pharmaceutical companies to develop innovative new MS therapies and repurpose FDA-approved drugs as new treatments for MS. Read more about Fast Forward.

Concert Pharmaceuticals, the CoNCERT logo and the DCE Platform are trademarks of Concert Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis, and there is currently no cure for MS. 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. An estimated 1 million people live with MS in the United States. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, and it affects women three times more than men.


© 2020 The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is a tax exempt 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Its Identification Number (EIN) is 13-5661935.