From Genes to Pathways to Novel Drugas For Multiple Sclerosis
Mission_MS is developing leads for novel medications to treat Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a progressive autoimmune and neurodegenerative disease that damages nerve cells and eventually leads to severe disability. The disease is first diagnosed at age 25-35 and currently, there is no cure. Therefore, lifelong treatment to lower disease activity is required. Given a total of 2,5 million MS patients worldwide, the medical costs for treating the disease as well as related societal costs due to loss of productivity are enormous.
All current medication to treat MS is aimed at reducing disease activity but fails to stop further damage to the nervous system, which applies to even the most effective therapies available today. Therefore, there is a large unmet need for MS therapeutics that activate the production of myelin – the electrically isolating material surrounding nerve cell endings – and repair nerve cells, and hence have potential to effectively stop the progression of the disease and, ultimately, cure it. To address this need, Mission_MS takes an approach that is aimed at modulating key genes capable of stimulating myelination and nerve cell repair. Their use as drug target will be based on insights into disease mechanism(s), inferred from the function of these risk genes identified in families with MS. With an expected total of 30 high-effect MS risk genes identified, Mission_MS will be capable of setting up a pipeline of drug targets and to generate an IP portfolio of drug target-compound combinations focused on myelination/nerve cell repair and with potential of stopping the disease process completely. Based on the Mission-MS technology initial proof of concept for the first pathway under investigation has already been obtained. An investment of Euro 11.2 million is required to pass our most promising compound through Phase 2a clinical trials.
Mission_MS consists of a highly experienced team bringing together extensive expertise in the fields of human genetics (Tineke Banda, M.Sc. ; Geert Poelmans M.D. Ph.D.), molecular and cellular biology (Wiebe Kruijer, Ph.D., prof. dr. em.), MS neurology (Sjef Jongen, M.D., Ph.D.) and MS nursing and patient-related issues (Marco Heerings, MANP, Ph.D. candidate) from Drug Target ID (DTID) B.V. and Radboudumc.
- Venture Challenge Spring 2019