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Jun 4, 2009

Charley's Fund Adds $3M in Research Support for AVI’s Therapy for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

  • Charley's Fund will provide an additional $3 million with the amendment of its existing sponsored research agreement with AVI BioPharma related to Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). This brings the total up to $5 million for the development of AVI-5038 through to an IND application.

    The drug candidate is based on the company’s antisense chemistry called phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligomers (PMO) and is a peptide-conjugated PMO. It has the potential to skip dystrophin exon 50 in certain patients with DMD.

    This therapeutic approach is similar to that of AVI-4658, which is in Phase I development, according to the firm. AVI-4658 is designed to treat DMD patients with mutations that could benefit from skipping exon 51 of the dystrophin gene.

    AVI's first contract with Charley’s Fund was initiated in October 2007 with $2.45 million and partly supported the research that identified AVI-5038.

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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

Do you agree that ecstasy should be studied for its potential therapeutic benefits?

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