Translation Award to tackle muscle spasms
23 March 2011
The award to emerging biotechnology company Canbex will facilitate further preclinical development of their VSN series of compounds and their progression into clinical trials. It is anticipated that a phase I trial of Canbex’s lead compound, VSN16R, could begin in December 2012.
“We are very grateful to the Wellcome Trust for its support, and are very excited to be moving our lead compound VSN16R forward towards clinical trials,” said Stephane Mery, CEO of Canbex.
Canbex have already conducted preclinical studies to show that VSN16R reduces muscle spasms in an animal model of MS spasticity, with a far lower burden of side-effects than the compounds that are currently in clinical use. Even at high doses, animals treated with VSN16R did not show the limpness and muscle flaccidity, known as the "rag doll effect", that is a characteristic of existing compounds.
"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.
Image credit: Wellcome Library, London.