Find Therapeutics Inc (Montreal, Quebec) and SATT Conectus (Strasbourg, France) have signed an exclusive worldwide license to develop a promising therapy for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Optic Neuritis (ON) based on a new class of compounds.

Promising preclinical data show that this innovative therapy, by overcoming the molecular barriers of myelin regeneration, could restore myelin function. For MS patients, it is the hope of being able to stabilize the disease by slowing down physical disability or even accelerate functional recovery.

Multiple sclerosis is a major public health issue with more than 1 million people living with MS in North America and almost 3 million people globally struggle with the disease each day. According to the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, Canada has one of the highest MS rates in the world with 1 in every 400 people affected.

People diagnosed with this progressive autoimmune disease experience worsening symptoms over time as the patient’s own immune system attacks and destroys myelin that envelops and protects elements of neurons in the central nervous system. Usually, the body can partially rebuild the damaged myelin, but this process is slow and becomes less efficient as the disease worsens resulting in irreparable nerve damage and progressive disability. People with MS suffer a diminished quality of life and often die from complications of their disease. MS can also affect the eye with most MS patients experiencing ON at some time in the course of their disease.

With this new therapeutic approach, Find Therapeutics will use its new generation of compounds that selectively target the regeneration of damaged myelin in MS which helps protect neurons and keeps them functioning normally. Initial preclinical pharmacology studies, funded by SATT Conectus, have demonstrated very encouraging results, delivering increased myelin and better function after treatment.

“These results are a major step forward,” said Dr. Philippe Douville, CEO of Find Therapeutics. “A new therapy promoting remyelination in MS and other diseases involving demyelination would be tremendously beneficial to patients and of great interest to the medical community. We are actively advancing the program in preclinical studies and expect to initiate the first human clinical studies when given the authorization by regulatory agencies.”

This new therapeutic approach is the result of several years of research under the direction of Prof. Dominique Bagnard in the Laboratory of Myelin Biopathology, Neuroprotection and Therapeutic Strategies (Inserm U1119- University of Strasbourg, France) which is part of the Institut du Médicament de Strasbourg.

“We combined our extensive expertise in developmental neurobiology and our unique drug design approach to demonstrate the therapeutic benefit of antagonizing inhibitory factors controlling demyelination and remyelination in several experimental models of MS,” said Prof. Bagnard. “This research is the result of a relentless scientific investment over more than 10 years during which we had to disentangle the mechanism of action of our therapeutic concept while developing a set of companion assays to obtain the right drug with the expected impact and best safety profile.”

Find Therapeutics was launched in 2020 with investments from CTI Life Sciences, along with partner adMare BioInnovations, and two Strasbourg-based biotechnology companies (Domain Therapeutics and Peptimimesis Pharma). Find Therapeutics decided at the end of 2021 to acquire the exclusive license to develop this cutting-edge technology developed by Prof. Bagnard’s team, with the support of SATT Conectus.

“Conectus has invested in this innovative project to optimize this therapeutic tool and demonstrate its pharmacological efficacy,” said Caroline Dreyer, President of SATT Conectus. “Thanks to our network we have been able to attract biotech startup Find Therapeutics who expressed interest in this exciting program. This is a nice example of technology transfer resulting from synergy between industry, an academic research team, and the SATT Conectus. Find Therapeutics and Prof. Dominique BAGNARD’s team are launched on a collaboration dedicated to advancing this innovative technology that could one day be accessible to patients.”

[Source(s): Find Therapeutics, PR Newswire]