EpicentRx Inc, a late-stage biopharmaceutical company developing platforms that treat and target multiple immune-mediated inflammatory disorders, announces that it has been awarded a $500,000 Therapeutics RFP grant from The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF), to study potential neuroprotective effects of its lead small molecule, RRx-001 in Parkinson’s disease (PD).

This grant is co-funded by the Shake it Up Australia Foundation, a not-for-profit organization, and MJFF to promote and fund PD research to slow, stop and cure the disease. RRx-001, a direct NLRP3 inflammasome inhibitor, will be evaluated for its potential to reduce or reverse the pathological features and hallmark symptoms of PD.

The MJFF Therapeutics grant will establish a new collaborative Parkinson’s research program on RRx-001 led by Dr. Richard Gordon at The University of Queensland (UQ) in Brisbane, Australia. Dr. Gordon is an expert on Parkinson’s disease, neuroinflammation and inflammasome activation in the Central Nervous System (CNS). This collaboration follows and builds on previous ground-breaking MJFF-funded work from UQ, which uncovered extensive inflammasome activation in people with PD and confirmed NLRP3 as a therapeutic target for neuroprotection.

RRx-001, the lead compound of EpicentRx’s CyNRGY platform of small molecules, is currently in a Phase 3 clinical trial for small cell lung cancer (SCLC). RRx-001 binds to cysteines found in immune and red blood cells, promoting protective cellular responses through induction of the Nrf2 pathway and inhibition of the NLRP3 inflammasome. The protective pathways induced by RRx-001 through inflammasome inhibition and Nrf2 activation support a new synergistic mechanism of neuroprotection in the brain, blood/vascular and immune system which are affected in PD.

“We are thrilled and honored to have received support from The Michael J. Fox Foundation’s flagship therapeutics program and to have the opportunity to work closely with an experienced Parkinson’s researcher like Dr. Gordon at UQ,” said Tony R. Reid, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of EpicentRx. “RRx-001’s inhibition of the inflammasome represents exciting new potential for the treatment and prevention of chronic inflammation-driven diseases such as Parkinson’s disease.”

“MJFF continues to invest in research that will improve our understanding of inflammasome inhibitors used to reduce or reverse symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. We are pleased to award this grant to EpicentRx to increase our understanding of RRx-001,” said Shalini Padmanabhan, MJFF Vice President of Research Programs.

[Source(s): EpicentRx Inc, PR Newswire]