This article was originally published in Start Up
Allozyne Inc.'s novel interferon beta drug candidate is now in Phase I clinical trials for MS. The company used its proprietary linker technology to attach PEG to interferon, and believes that will allow more drug to be loaded into a dose and lead to a product that could be injected as infrequently as once per month. Moreover, it thinks its PEG conjugate should reduce tolerance problems and improve half-life over current interferons.
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Receptos isn't the only company in the G-coupled protein receptor oral MS drug arena, but it believes its proprietary S1P1 agonist will improve on Novartis' first-in-class S1P1 modulator Gilenya. Unlike Gilenya, which hits four of the five S1P receptor subtypes, the Receptos molecule binds selectively to S1P1 and has a predicted human half-life of approximately one day, potentially improving the safety profile and reducing complications for MS patients.
The closely watched launch of Gilenya, the first oral treatment for multiple sclerosis, may have changed the game for developing new therapies for the disease. Start-Up profiles four emerging MS drug developers: Allozyne, GeNeuro, Nuron Biotech and Receptos.
Founded by veterans of Pfizer, Nuron Biotech Inc. is developing a recombinant human interferon beta-1 free of human serum albumin and the aggregates that set off an immune response. Thus the start-up's lead candidate should not lose effectiveness or have the tolerability issues that plague existing interferon beta drugs. The company will move its agent directly into Phase III clinical trials in Europe this year.