National MS Society Invests in Commercial Research by MedaRed To Develop Treatment for Progressive MS
October 26, 2018
The National MS Society, through Fast Forward, is investing up to $330,000 to support research at the San Francisco biotech company MedaRed, Inc. The funding will enable the company to further develop an antibody that has shown promise in preclinical studies as a potential treatment to protect the nervous system from MS damage. Therapies to protect the nervous system from damage are an area of great unmet need, particularly for those living with progressive forms of multiple sclerosis
This investment stemmed from a request for proposals released by Fast Forward for projects focused on testing existing therapies or drug candidates to determine if they are neuroprotective and/or repair damage to the brain and spinal cord, especially for the treatment of progressive MS.
The antibody was developed by MedaRed’s cofounder, Katerina Akassoglou, PhD (Gladstone Institutes & University of California, San Francisco). Dr. Akassoglou and colleagues have shown that fibrin, a blood-clotting factor, is deposited in the brain during the immune attack in mouse models of MS, and directly activates immune cells in the brain known as microglia. Using this antibody that inhibits fibrin, they recently reported that they were able to decrease the activation of microglia, and reduce subsequent damage to nerve fibers in mice. Importantly, the antibody does not appear to interfere with fibrin’s blood-clotting functions. (Read more about these findings
The funding from Fast Forward will enable MedaRed to “humanize” the antibody – that is, make it more similar to human antibodies and more suitable for use as a potential therapeutic strategy in people with MS.
“We are excited to see the development of this antibody accelerate toward a breakthrough for progressive MS.” said Mark Allegretta, PhD, Vice President of Research at the National MS Society. “This funding will help MedaRed take a key step for translating their important findings toward a clinical trial in people with progressive MS.”
“The funding from the National MS Society accelerates the transition of this important research discovery into the clinic” said Edward Spack, PhD, president of MedaRed. “We look forward to accomplishing this key step in drug development through the support of the Society, and improving the health of people with MS.”
Read more about Fast Forward
Read more about research in progressive MS