Trophos has been awarded a €1 million (approximately $1.29 million) grant from the French Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR) to support Translate-MS-Repair, a two-year collaborative R&D project that will evaluate the firm’s lead olesoxime candidate in a Phase Ib/IIa multiple sclerosis (MS) study. The grant is the second awarded by the ANR and follows on from its support of the MS-Repair project, also led by Trophos, which evaluated olesoxime in a range of in vitro and in vivo MS models and demonstrated that the molecule is neuroprotective but can promote oligodentrocyte progenitor cells’ maturation into myelinating oligodendrocytes.

The follow-up Translate-MS-Repair consortium will involve three clinical centers in France, and will conduct a clinical trial evaluating the mitochondrial targeted, cholesterol-like compound olesoxime therapy in combination with including beta interferon in 30 relapsing-remitting MS patients who are stably treated using beta interferon 1a. The study also aims to assess the feasibility of performing nonconventional MRI procedures in a multicenter trial. “MS is the first cause of nontraumatic disability in young adults,” states Rebecca Pruss, Trophos CSO. “While there are a number of effective treatments to control the relapsing inflammatory episodes, they have little effect on progressive disability in MS patients … There is a real unmet need for agents to promote neuroprotection and myelin repair.”

Olesoxime (previously TRO19622) is designed to prevent mitochondrial dysfunction and improve microtubule dynamics, which are both implicated in neuroprotection and oligodendrocyte maturation. The drug is currently undergoing Phase II evaluation for the treatment of spinal muscular atrophy, and has separately demonstrated promising results in models of Huntington’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease through the recently completed EU funded MitoTarget project.

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