Novoron Bioscience said it has won a two-year, $680,000 grant from the NIH under its Small Business Innovation Research Program for preclinical studies of a new therapeutic approach for promoting remyelination in multiple sclerosis (MS).

The grant will fund proof of concept studies designed to validate further preclinical development of Novoron's lead compound, NOVO-117, as an MS therapy. NOVO-117 is designed to work by targeting a previously unknown mediator of RhoA activation in CNS disease, low density lipoprotein-related protein 1 (LRP1).

Novoron's therapeutic approach targets RhoA, whose unwanted activation results in persistent myelin debris coupled with the inflammatory consequences of immune infiltration, inhibiting the ability of oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) to create new myelin.

“Today's approved therapies are aimed solely at dampening the autoimmune attack on myelin, but there are currently no approved treatments to repair damage after an attack has occurred,” Novoron president and CEO Travis Stiles, Ph.D., said in a statement.

“Rho and Rho-kinase are well considered targets for multiple sclerosis, but are difficult to effectively inhibit therapeutically in the brain. Novoron's technological foundation relies on our unique approach to targeting RhoA in a fashion that is amenable to disorders of the brain and spinal cord,” Dr. Stiles added. “Our approach shows substantial promise towards repairing this damage.”

The grant is supported by NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) under Award Number R43NS092182.

Founded in 2013, Novoron has received six NIH grants totaling more than $1.2 million toward new therapeutic approaches in neurological disorders, including MS, stroke, and spinal cord injury.

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