Inhibikase Therapeutics said today it has been awarded a $433,000 research grant from The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) toward pre-IND studies of the company’s novel Abelson tyrosine kinase (c-Abl) inhibitors as a potential Parkinson’s disease (PD) treatment.

Inhibikase has discovered and developed a series of c-Abl inhibitors using its proprietary Re-engineering Approach with Metabolism Preserved (RAMP) technology engine, and said it has validated their activity in preclinical animal models for multiple therapeutic indications in the brain.

The company evaluated its RAMP molecules in preclinical animal models of PD. Results from those models showed that the molecules are capable of blocking the progressive death of dopamine-producing neurons that drives the disease, according to Inhibikase.

The grant will support studies of the activity and pharmacology of the RAMP molecules in a newly defined mouse model designed to recapitulate many of the hallmarks of the progressive disease process in humans. The company said RAMP molecules that pass these tests will be positioned to advance into clinical testing.

The research will supplement two recently launched clinical proof-of-principle studies designed to evaluate commercial anticancer c-Abl inhibitors as potential bridging therapies in PD until the company’s RAMP molecules reach clinical testing in humans. The studies won FDA clearance in September.

Founded in 2008, Inhibikase focuses on developing small-molecule drugs that target central nervous system (CNS) diseases, including neurodegenerative diseases and life-threatening brain infections. The company is headquartered in Atlanta, with offices in Cambridge, MA.

“We are grateful to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for its support as we continue our work to validate this potential disease-modifying therapy that may impede the progression of Parkinson’s disease,” Inhibikase CEO Milton Werner, Ph.D., said in a statement.

The Foundation is the world’s largest nonprofit funder of Parkinson’s research and has funded more than $700 million in research to date.

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