Preclinical program with potential for disease modifying therapeutic

By Liza Laws

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images
© Getty Images

Related tags Multiple sclerosis Clinical trial Clinical research License Pharmacology



A license agreement from UCB to Pheno Therapeutics will enable the acceleration of a promising new drug tackling neurological diseases towards clinical development.

Pheno is focused on discovering and developing small molecule therapeutics that promote remyelination. This is a phenomenon by which new myelin sheaths are generated around axons in the adult central nervous system, particularly in diseases like multiple sclerosis.

The agreement with UCB grants Pheno access and rights to develop, manufacture and commercialize a preclinical-stage program of novel small molecules designed to promote remyelination.

Fraser Murray, chief executive officer of Pheno said: “We have utilized our proprietary human phenotypic screening platform to discover novel and tractable therapeutic targets to modulate oligodendrocyte biology and promote remyelination. This license allows us to accelerate a promising drug target towards clinical development.

“Together with our human neurological drug development expertise, there is significant opportunity for Pheno Therapeutics to fast-track this program towards clinical proof-of-concept studies and potentially deliver transformational drugs for the treatment of demyelination diseases.”

Pheno will make a one-time upfront payment and will be responsible for development, manufacturing, and global commercialization. UCB will receive milestones and tiered royalties on net sales. Further financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.

License agreements like this are a demonstration of the value UCB scientists and our partners are creating through strong research productivity, and we are confident that Pheno Therapeutics, with its expertise in phenotypic screening, stem cell technology and myelin biology, will develop this preclinical program to its full potential​,” said Dhaval Patel, executive vice president and UCB’s chief scientific officer.

Pheno Therapeutics will make a one-time upfront payment and will be responsible for development, manufacturing, and global commercialization. UCB will receive milestones and tiered royalties on net sales. Further financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.

The preclinical program is designed to selectively modulate the activity of an undisclosed target that is preferentially expressed on human oligodendrocytes and is known to play a critical role in the biological pathway and process of myelination. 

MS can affect both the brain and the spinal cord which in turn can cause symptoms including loss of sensation and balance, vision problems and the movement of the arms and legs. It is a lifelong condition that can cause serious disability although in some cases, it can occasionally be mild.

Existing treatments include short courses of steroids to speed up recovery and disease modifying therapies that can help slow or reduce the overall worsening in people with relapsing or remitting MS and in some people with primary and secondary progressive MS, who have relapses.

Related topics Clinical Development

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