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reMYND NV today announced that it has received a grant of 1.48 million EUR from IWT, the Flemish agency for Innovation by Science and Technology, to accelerate its Diabetes program. reMYND announces this news during the Bio International Convention (Washington, US) on 27 June 2011.
reMYND’s Drug Discovery & Development focuses on the development of disease-modifying drugs for patients suffering from protein-misfolding disorders including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM).
Currently, reMYND’s most advanced programs entail treatments for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease aiming to decelerate – or even stop – neuronal degeneration by counter-acting tau or synuclein protein misfolding. Hence, such treatments would allow to slow-down disease progression in patients. In September 2010, reMYND signed a major strategic alliance with Roche to further develop and commercialise part of reMYND’s Alzheimer and Parkinson experimental treatments.
Recently, reMYND has diversified its drug discovery activities by including T2DM, another protein misfolding disorder. In T2DM patients, IAPP misfolding is believed to be a major cause of degeneration and death of insulin-producing β-cells. Last year, proof-of-concept was demonstrated in-vitro in β-cells, indicating that reMYND’s screening technology platform can be reconfigured to discover IAPP-toxicity inhibitors. Building on these promising findings, reMYND has launched a major effort to develop novel disease-modifying treatments for T2DM which would preserve insulin-producing β-cells and thus go well beyond currently available mere symptomatic treatments. In order to accelerate these exciting developments, IWT has now provided reMYND with a grant of 1.48 million EUR for 2011-2012. A possible extension into 2013 will be assessed at the end of 2012 based on the scientific progress realised and on the company growth. If all goes as planned, reMYND’s T2DM program would be at the end of 2013 in a similar stage of development as the Alzheimer program was at the time of out-licensing to Roche.
Commenting on the grant, Koen De Witte, Managing Director of reMYND said: “We are excited about this grant, not only for its potential acceleration of reMYND’s T2DM program but also because it validates our research approach into this disease area, having withstood a thorough evaluation by IWT and external scientific experts. This also broadens the scope of our pipeline beyond the Central Nervous System.”
Gerard Griffioen, CSO of reMYND added: “The research supported by the grant has the objective to discover a novel class of drugs for treating a root cause of T2DM. Given the increasing prevalence of T2DM globally, especially at increasingly younger age, such treatments could have the potential to improve quality of life significantly for a growing number of patients by delaying the more detrimental phases of diabetes and the use of insulins.”
Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) is a chronic metabolic disorder resulting from a failure to appropriately manage blood glucose levels. The prevalence of T2DM in the seven major markets is about 8.5% (about 10 times higher than the 0.9% prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease and 40 times higher than Parkinson’s). T2DM is estimated to affect more than 300 million people worldwide and is expected to increase rapidly in the future, with an anticipated doubling by 2025. Although T2DM is age-related, over the past decades a remarkably strong decrease in age of onset has been observed, likely attributable to changes in lifestyle and diet in Western countries. These evolutions, which are also becoming manifest in developing regions such as the highly populated BRIC countries, together with the increased ageing of the population, are major causes for the expected rise in T2DM incidence and illustrate a huge medical need and an enormous challenge for society. At present only symptomatic treatments are available for T2DM, none of which alter the course of ongoing degeneration of the insulin-producing β-cells fundamentally.
Therefore developing innovative disease-modifying treatments with the potential to decelerate or perhaps even reverse symptoms entails a current challenge of reMYND, creating a unique opportunity to address important medical needs and societal challenges while securing an important economic value in Flanders.
reMYND, a spin-off company of Leuven University, Belgium, actively drives the development of disease-modifying treatments, both through its own Drug Discovery & Development and as a Contract Research Organization (CRO):