Parkinson's UK is partnering with US company Neurolixis to accelerate the development of a promising new drug that could prevent dyskinesia, one of the most debilitating side effects of Parkinson's medication.
Caused by years of taking levodopa - the main medication for Parkinson's - dyskinesia is uncontrolled movements, including twitches, jerks, twisting and writhing movements.
Around half of all people with Parkinson's will experience it after just 5 years of taking levodopa, and up to 80% of people will experience it after 10 years.
The charity is now providing funding of more than £780,000 for Neurolixis to carry out the final research needed before the drug, NLX-112, can progress to human clinical trials.
"Two thirds of people with Parkinson's have told us that dyskinesia is one of the most critical issues that impacts quality of life," said Dr Arthur Roach, Director of Research at Parkinson's UK.
"Using our Virtual Biotech model, we hope to be able to deliver a potential treatment that will help address this problem as quickly as possible."
Dr Mark Varney, Co-founder, President and Chief Executive Officer at Neurolixis added: "We greatly appreciate Parkinson's UK supporting this program. This grant will now enable us to move the NLX-112 program through the necessary regulatory steps in preparation for clinical trials in Parkinson's patients."
Fast tracking better treatments
This project is the second to be funded by Parkinson's UK's Virtual Biotech initiative.
Launched last year to combat lost opportunities in drug discovery and early clinical development, the Virtual Biotech allows the charity to work with a range of other organisations and provide critical funding to push forward promising new treatment options and develop better treatments for Parkinson's faster. Find out more about the Virtual Biotech.
About the drug
NLX-112 was previously discovered and developed by French pharma company, Pierre Fabre Médicament, as a potential treatment for pain. After reaching phase 2 clinical trials, it was out-licensed to Neurolixis, which identified an opportunity to repurpose the drug to treat levodopa-induced dyskinesia.
"Because this drug has already reached phase 2 clinical trials in the past, we already know a lot about its safety. This means that, should this last stage of pre-clinical testing go well, it can progress directly to phase 2 clinical trials," said Dr Roach.
"If it succeeds in these trials, we could be seeing a new treatment for people with Parkinson's within as little as 5 years."
This project will carry out vital late stage research required before NLX-112 can move forward into clinical trials, including drug formulation, preparation of clinical trial materials and safety and efficacy testing in a marmoset model of Parkinson's.