CeNeRx BioPharma Obtains Rights to Drug Candidate for Prevention and Treatment of Neurodegeneration Disorders
News Jun 17, 2009
CeNeRx BioPharma, Inc. has announced that it has obtained the rights to develop and market a novel agent for the prevention and treatment of neuropathies and neurodegenerative disorders.
The drug candidate, CXB909, is a small molecule, orally active agent that enhances the effects of nerve growth factor (NGF). CeNeRx intends to initiate a Phase l trial of CXB909 for the treatment of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) later this year.
"Nerve growth factor has long been of interest as a potential therapy for neuropathies and neurodegenerative diseases, but recombinant NGF lacks key qualities needed for successful CNS drugs," said Dr. Daniel Burch, Executive Vice President of R&D and Chief Medical Officer of CeNeRx.
"In preclinical studies, our small molecule agent CXB909 has been shown to increase the action of native NGF, but without the pharmacokinetic and administration challenges of recombinant NGF. Most notably, CXB909 crosses the blood brain barrier, has a long half-life and is orally available. The preclinical data for this agent is very promising, and we look forward to assessing it in the clinic for neuropathic and neurodegenerative conditions that currently have no treatment options."
CXB909 is a downstream enhancer of the effects of nerve growth factor, an endogenously produced neurotrophic factor that is important for the function and survival of several types of neurons. Both Alzheimer's disease and Huntington's disease involve the degeneration of certain neurons, and neuronal damage is also implicated in the peripheral neuropathies associated with diabetes, kidney disease, cancer chemotherapy and other conditions.
In preclinical studies, CXB909 enhanced the action of NGF in vitro, amplifying its activity almost seven-fold. CXB909 was neuroprotective in a variety of cellular assays and in animal models of neuropathies and neurodegenerative diseases, including chemotherapy-induced neuropathy, for which there is currently no approved treatment.
"The addition of CXB909 to our development pipeline is another example of the growing success of our strategy to in-license novel CNS agents with validated mechanisms for the treatment of underserved CNS disorders," said Barry Brand, Chief Executive Officer of CeNeRx.
"Our rapidly aging population is at risk for devastating neuropathic and neurodegenerative diseases that lack effective therapies. We intend to move quickly to test CXB909 in relevant conditions, beginning with chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, a disabling and dose-limiting side effect of cancer treatment with a relatively straightforward pathway to clinical development and regulatory review."