Tuesday October 31, 7:04 am Eastern Time
SOURCE: Acorda Therapeutics
HAWTHORNE, N.Y. Oct. 31 /PRNewswire/ -- Acorda Therapeutics announced today that it has been awarded a Phase 1 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant and a Phase 1 Small Business Technology Transfer Grant (STTR) by the National Institutes of Health. The grants, totaling $290,000, will fund collaborative research between Acorda and Drs. Moses Rodriguez and Larry Pease of the Mayo Clinic. The funded research will explore new therapeutic approaches to repair the central nervous system (CNS) using naturally occurring monoclonal antibodies.
Acorda designates this class of monoclonal antibodies, "M1". M1 antibodies have been shown to be effective in promoting the regrowth of myelin, the insulating sheath around nerve fibers. In June 2000 Dr. Rodriguez and his colleagues published results of a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences demonstrating the effectiveness of human versions of such monoclonal antibodies in promoting remyelination in a mouse model of demyelinating disease. This effect is potentially important for the treatment of multiple sclerosis and other conditions that damage myelin in the brain and spinal cord.
The study supported by the SBIR grant will examine the extent to which antibodies of this class can also promote the regeneration of nerve fibers. There is evidence that some of these molecules promote potentially reparative outgrowth of nerve fibers, which does not normally occur in the injured brain or spinal cord.
The study supported by the STTR grant targets the production of recombinant forms of these human antibodies, and will support additional research needed to progress to clinical (human) testing.
Timothy J. Neuberger, Ph.D., an Acorda Senior Scientist and principal investigator on the SBIR grant, commented, "Antibodies are traditionally associated with destruction of targets, such as bacterial or viral invaders. But it is now clear that some classes of antibodies can stimulate, rather than attack, certain targets within the body. This grant funding will allow us to move forward more expeditiously with our development of M1 antibodies for remyelination, and will allow us to break exciting new ground in the field of CNS regeneration."
Acorda Therapeutics, a privately held biotechnology company, is developing therapies for spinal cord injury (SCI) and related neurological conditions, including multiple sclerosis (MS). The Company's lead product, Fampridine-SR, is in late Phase 2 clinical trials for restoring neurological function in chronic SCI and in MS. Acorda is also developing protein-and stem cell-based technologies for regeneration and repair of spinal cord and brain.
SOURCE: Acorda Therapeutics