Biovail and MedGenesis Therapeutix confirmed the receipt of $2.1 million from the Michael J. Fox Foundation to fund further clinical development of glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) therapy for Parkinson disease.
GDNF is a naturally occurring growth factor that protects and promotes the survival of dopamine-producing nerve cells, the firms explain. The candidate is being developed by Biovail and MedGenesis through a collaboration agreement announced in January. Parkinson disease is the first GDNF indication the partnership is focused on.
The GDNF co-development agreement followed on from MedGenesis’ negotiation of an exclusive, worldwide license to the GDNF protein from Amgen for both CNS and non-CNS applications. This deal, also announced in January, gave Amgen a small equity stake in MedGenesis.