NeuroScience Pharmaceuticals Launches in Research Triangle Park
News Apr 22, 2009
NeuroScience Pharmaceuticals Inc. has been launched in Research Triangle Park with the help of a North Carolina Biotechnology Center loan. The pharmaceutical company is developing treatments for brain disorders, utilizing technology licensed from Duke University and Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VA).
Dr. Gabriel Cipau, President and CEO of the new clinical-stage company, said it will be focused on the development of neurosteroid drugs. Neurosteroids are potent brain substances that play a role in controlling anxiety and depression.
NeuroScience’s lead product, Pregnenolone, is being tested for the treatment of schizophrenia in two fully funded Phase II clinical trials. Each study will involve 88 patients and enrollment is expected to start in the next two months.
“Multiple characteristics of Pregnenolone support its potential efficacy for the treatment of cognitive and negative symptoms in schizophrenia. Pregnenolone has multiple mechanisms of action supported by an extensive preclinical literature and emerging clinical data. Phase I clinical trials have indicated that Pregnenolone has the potential to effectively address schizophrenia symptoms with a favorable side effect profile”, said Dr. Cipau.
The trial results were announced in a recent publication: Marx CE et al. Proof-of-Concept Trial with the Neurosteroid Pregnenolone Targeting Cognitive and Negative Symptoms in Schizophrenia, Neuropsychopharmacology (2009), 1-19.
“We look forward to efforts by Neuroscience Pharmaceuticals to bring this promising compound through the development process and, ultimately, to the clinic,” said Dr. Brandy Salmon, Associate Director, The Office of Licensing and Ventures at Duke University. “This new company will focus on advancing compounds for the treatment of various psychiatric and neurological disorders in which patients are currently underserved by available therapies.”
Dr. Cipau said he expects NeuroScience to pursue other potential therapeutic applications for Pregnenolone, including cognitive impairment, Alzheimer's disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and addiction. The future product pipeline also includes a variety of delivery mechanisms and second generation neurosteroid compounds.