Canbex Therapeutics Receives GBP1.75 Million Translation Award From the Wellcome Trust

Mar 23, 2011, 12:12 ET from UCL Business

LONDON, March 23, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Canbex Therapeutics Ltd. (Canbex) announced today that it has received a Translation Award of up to 1.75 million ($2.8 million) from the Wellcome Trust to support development of a drug for the treatment of the debilitating muscle spasms associated with multiple sclerosis and potentially other disorders.

The award will facilitate further preclinical development of Canbex's VSN series of compounds and the progression into clinical trials. It is anticipated that a Phase I trial of lead compound VSN16R could begin in December 2012.

"We are delighted that Canbex can move their lead compound VSN16R forward towards clinical trials," said Dr Stephane Mery of Canbex.

Preclinical studies have shown that VSN16R treatment reduces muscle spasms in an animal model of MS spasticity, with a far lower burden of side effects than the decades-old compounds that are currently in clinical use. Even at high doses, animals treated with of VSN16R did not show the limpness and muscle flaccidity, know as the "rag doll effect", that is a characteristic of existing compounds.

"Multiple sclerosis (MS) patients urgently need more tolerable treatments for the painful and debilitating muscle spasms that many of them suffer, and we believe that VSN16R has the potential to meet that need, and enhance the quality of life for people living with MS" Mery added.

MS is a serious and progressive chronic disease for which no satisfactory cure is in sight. Spasticity, characterized by sudden and uncontrollable movements of limb and torso musculature, is among the most painful, damaging and debilitating symptoms of the disease. It can manifest itself in the form of gait disorders, fatigue, spasms and pain. Spasticity can also occur in other conditions, including bladder dysfunction and spinal cord injury.

Current forms of treatment for spasticity are unsatisfactory, and a drug against spasticity that is well tolerated and effective could make a substantial difference to quality of life for MS patients and potentially many others.

Canbex has been developing its VSN series of compounds with the support of investors including Fast Forward LLC, a not for profit organization established by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, USA, to accelerate the development of treatments for MS. "Fast Forward's support has been a uniquely powerful endorsement of our efforts, one which has encouraged other funders and the MS community to engage with us," Stephane Mery said.