Io Therapeutics agreed to collaborate with The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) to evaluate the company’s experimental Retinoid X Receptor (RXR) agonist compound IRX4204 as a potential treatment for Parkinson’s disease. The collaboration, funded by MJFF, will examine the effects of IRX4204 in preclinical models of Parkinson’s disease. If the results are promising, these preclinical studies could lead to the initiation of a clinical trial.

“It was reported in the medical literature nearly a decade ago that signaling through RXR pathways promotes survival of dopaminergic neurons, the primary type of cell being destroyed in Parkinson’s disease,” explained Rosh Chandraratna, Ph.D., CSO of Io Therapeutics. “IRX4204 is a first-in-class highly potent and specific agonist of RXR. We are hopeful that it will prove useful for treating Parkinson’s disease, perhaps even for slowing its progression.”

“IRX4204 has been well tolerated in clinical trials in patients with various cancers. Io Therapeutics is now expanding the development program for IRX4204 to include its evaluation as a treatment for Parkinson’s disease,” added Martin E. Sanders, M.D., chairman and CEO of the company.

According to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (PDF), as many as one million Americans live with the disease, which is more than the combined number of people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, and Lou Gehrig’s disease. Approximately 60,000 Americans are newly diagnosed each year, and this number does not reflect the thousands of cases that go undetected. The PDF also reports that an estimated seven to 10 million people worldwide are living with Parkinson’s disease.

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