This week it was announced that drug development company Bionure, Inc. has entered into a sponsored research agreement with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. The collaborative agreement is through Fast Forward, the NMSS’s commercial research subsidiary aimed at accelerating the development of new and improved therapies for MS.
According to the terms disclosed, Bionure will obtain funding from Fast Forward for “the late-preclinical development of BN201 to enable IND filling to support the Phase 1 clinical study in Acute Optic Neuritis (AON). Optic neuritis is often a first sign of multiple sclerosis.”
Bionure’s BN201 is a New-Chemical Entity, first-in-class neuroprotective candidate in development for AON and has been recently granted with orphan designation status by the FDA.
“We are excited to collaborate with the National MS Society towards accelerating BN201 into clinical trials for AON”, said Mr. Albert G. Zamora, CEO at Bionure. “Fast Forward’s support provides an independent scientific validation for Bionure’s BN201 potential to treat AON and MS through an innovative approach and will allow Bionure to file the IND by Q2 of 2015”.
Beyond its neuroprotective activity in neurons, BN201 has been shown to stimulate remyelination by differentiating OPCs into mature oligodendrocytes and promoting the formation of myelin sheaths around axons. Protecting the nervous system from damage and reversing that damage through myelin repair has the potential to restore function to people with optic neuritis and multiple sclerosis.
“The National MS Society is committed to helping people with MS live their best lives,” said Mark Allegretta, PhD, Associate Vice President of Commercial Research at the Society. “We are pleased to partner with Bionure to accelerate the development of its novel neuroprotective and remyelinating compound. Protecting and repairing the nervous system holds promise for people with progressive forms of MS, for whom there are so few treatment options.”