CLEVELAND, Feb. 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Milo Biotechnology will receive $250,000 from JumpStart Inc., a nonprofit investing intensive business assistance and some capital into early stage Northeast Ohio-based tech companies. A clinical stage startup developing a therapy to increase muscle strength and improve the quality of life of muscular dystrophy patients, Milo is the 61st company in JumpStart's portfolio. "There are limited treatment options for muscular dystrophy and approved therapies are inadequate or can cause significant side effects," says JumpStart's Mike Lang. "Since most muscular dystrophy patients are children, the medical community is interested in a safer and more targeted therapy."
Milo Biotechnology's lead product is an adeno-associated virus (AAV) delivered follistatin protein. Follistatin inhibits the activity of myostatin, a protein that impedes muscle differentiation and growth. That makes follistatin a very potent stimulator of muscle growth and prevention of muscle scarring after injury. "The translational research team at the Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital has harnessed the power of follistatin and increased its specificity for muscle," explains Al Hawkins, CEO of Milo Biotechnology and CEO-in-Residence at BioEnterprise in Cleveland. "The efficacy and safety results thus far have been remarkable." Pre-clinical studies in mice and non-human primates demonstrated considerable increases in muscle size and strength. FDA approved the investigators' IND in October 2011 and a clinical trial evaluating the safety and efficacy of Milo's follistatin therapy began last month at Columbus-based Nationwide Children's Hospital, where the technology was developed. The Phase I/II trial, funded by a grant from Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, is enrolling patients with Becker muscular dystrophy and inclusion body myositis.
Milo Biotechnology was founded by Hawkins and one of the lead inventors of the follistatin technology, Brian Kaspar, PhD.
MILO BIOTECHNOLOGY Milo Biotechnology is a Cleveland-based company dedicated to improving the lives of patients with neuromuscular diseases. Milo's early clinical stage follistatin program, exclusively licensed from Nationwide Children's Hospital, is designed to increase muscle size and strength.
JUMPSTART INC JumpStart Inc. accelerates the successes of entrepreneurs, their companies, and the ecosystems supporting them. JumpStart has given intensive business assistance to more than 400 entrepreneurial clients and invested in 61 early stage Northeast Ohio companies. For more information, visit www.jumpstartinc.org and follow @JumpStartInc on Twitter.
SOURCE JumpStart Inc.