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GEN News Highlights : Aug 14, 2013

Myelin Repair Foundation, Gencia Partner to Speed Up MS Drug Development

The Myelin Repair Foundation (MRF) and Gencia said they will collaborate to assess the myelin regenerating capabilities of the company’s therapeutic compounds for multiple sclerosis (MS), with the goal of advancing myelin repair therapeutic development for MS.

Gencia is a developer of biologic and small molecule drugs for central nervous system diseases, as well as for inflammation and rare genetic disorders. The MRF said its collaboration with Gencia will apply the foundation’s Accelerated Research Collaboration (ARC) model, which as GEN reported last year is designed to bring new medicines to patients 50–70% faster than current drug development by bridging the logistical, cultural, and financial distance between academic labs and licensing by commercial drug developers.

Gencia researchers will work with investigators at the MRF’s Translational Medicine Center, a laboratory launched in 2011 to investigate and advance promising myelin repair drug targets toward commercialization.

The center is a component of the MRF’s Translational Medicine Platform, along with contract research organizations and the the MRF’s research consortium. The platform aims to ensure comprehensive validation of potential therapeutics into clinical development.

The Gencia collaboration, announced yesterday, is among several foundation partnerships with biotech or pharma companies.

Last month the MRF awarded a nonexclusive sublicense to Biogen Idec for use of foundation technologies in developing a new DTA mouse model for evaluating promising treatments for myelin repair. Under the DTA model, demyelination is the result of the specific loss of the principal target cells in MS, thus facilitating identification of potential treatments to restore myelin production by these target cells. The DTA model displays characteristics reminiscent of the progressive form of MS, not yet available in other mouse models.