New MS Therapy Company, Pipeline, to Focus on Rejuvenating Coating That Protects Nerve Cells

New MS Therapy Company, Pipeline, to Focus on Rejuvenating Coating That Protects Nerve Cells

A new company called Pipeline Therapeutics will focus on developing next-generation therapies for regenerating the key nerve-protection process that is damaged in multiple sclerosis.

Roche, Inception Sciences, and the venture capital firm Versant Ventures laid the groundwork for Pipeline by establishing a partnership in June 2014 that formed the Inception 5 program. Its goal was to develop therapies for remyelination — the process of repairing the myelin coating that protects nerve fibers. Myelin damage is a hallmark of MS.

The early promise of the remyelination therapy development program has led to Pipeline Therapeutics being formed to take over the Inception 5 effort.

Versant supported Inception 5 with financing. Roche provided research funding in exchange for an option to acquire a therapy program that could achieve investigational new drug status. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration awards the status so that companies can market an experimental therapy across state lines.

In the past 3 1/2 years, Inception scientists have translated findings made at the University of California, San Francisco medical center into a clinical trial program for MS.

“It is gratifying to see another successful outcome within Versant’s Discovery Engine network,” Brad Bolzon, the managing director and chair of Versant’s investment team, said in a press release.

“We continue to leverage collaborative business models with pharma partners, especially in emerging fields such as this. We thank Roche for their confidence in the potential of our partnership to produce an entirely new class of therapeutics for [MS] and other demyelinating diseases,” Bolzon said.

“Our Inception scientists once again demonstrated their ability to effectively translate foundational academic discoveries into high-quality drug candidates,” said Peppi Prasit, Inception’s CEO. “This achievement resulted from access to cutting-edge academic research, a proven team of drug hunters with domain expertise, and support from our venture capital and pharma partners.”

Pipeline Therapeutics will be led by the same team that started the Inception 5 program but will have a larger network of academic founders. Brian Stearns and Daniel Lorrain co-led Inception 5. Stearns will be Pipeline’s chief operations officer and Lorrain its chief scientific officer. Clare Ozawa, Versant’s managing director, will be in charge of Pipeline’s formation, financing and launch.

“We are very excited to announce the creation of Pipeline Therapeutics, and look forward to pursuing other therapeutic approaches that can promote functional recovery in neurological diseases,” Stearns said.

“Based on the continued progress in the field, we are now positioned to pursue drug candidates that invoke the natural repair processes in several nervous system cell types,” Ozama said. “We aim to create the leading company in the field and to build a portfolio of therapies for several neurodegenerative disorders that currently lack effective treatments.”

 

José is a science news writer with a PhD in Neuroscience from Universidade of Porto, in Portugal. He has studied Biochemistry also at Universidade do Porto and was a postdoctoral associate at Weill Cornell Medicine, in New York, and at The University of Western Ontario, in London, Ontario. His work ranged from the association of central cardiovascular and pain control to the neurobiological basis of hypertension, and the molecular pathways driving Alzheimer’s disease.
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José is a science news writer with a PhD in Neuroscience from Universidade of Porto, in Portugal. He has studied Biochemistry also at Universidade do Porto and was a postdoctoral associate at Weill Cornell Medicine, in New York, and at The University of Western Ontario, in London, Ontario. His work ranged from the association of central cardiovascular and pain control to the neurobiological basis of hypertension, and the molecular pathways driving Alzheimer’s disease.
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30 comments

    • Marie Heron says:

      I have been living with M.S. since 1984. I am grateful and blessed that I am still standing. I doubt this will help me. But, fingers and toes crossed for Generation Next. Marie Heron

  1. Mary Ann Cincinnati says:

    OMG finally! Put me in the study!! I have primary progressive MS and in a wheelchair. May God give you the knowledge and capability to give us back the part of our lives that we have missed out on for so many yrs! I wish you much luck and prayers.🙏

  2. Spiro says:

    Not to be a downer, but realistically, this will not lead to a Phase I trial in the foreseeable future. Secondly, death of axons are what drives disability, not just myelin loss. This was illustrated in the futile anti LINGO remyelination therapy by Biogen, which showed no clinical improvement. Remyelination plays very little role, only in early MS

  3. Fantastic news, please put me on your first trial. I’m in a chair but able to transfer and still use my walker in my home.It’s getting harder by day and always talked about what you are approaching now. At least something to stop the progression would be amazing! Thanks and can’t wait!

  4. charles says:

    there are some known remyelinating agents. ask your neurologist about clemastine and lovastatin. those are two old drugs that show promise. a new company dedicated to developing new therapies for remyelination is a big part of the puzzle when it comes to solving multiple sclerosis. the other part is stopping the inflammatory damage. I am stoked.

  5. Elizabeth says:

    I am happy they are trying to do something but remain cynical. I think they are slowing ms down now. So, I believe no big push to help those who have been fighting this disease for years.

  6. alicia espino says:

    alicia says
    always so hopeful to see people working to help us please let me know if and
    when we can go and parttake to improve our life would be most appreciated

  7. BARB MUELLER says:

    After 45 yrs of this disease, I’m looking forward too something that would help. Interested in the study.

  8. Penny Meijer says:

    Had MS for ca. 50 years. No medicine yet but it is getting more and more difficult. Do take MitoQ that cleared the brain fog so I would definitely be willing to try

  9. lynn johnson says:

    Give this disease to the lord and don’t worry someday a special scientist will find a cure for all of us who have this disease. Then we will thank god for this special person whose works have given us the ability to walk again and have joy in our lives.

  10. hana spurling says:

    I pray for you to have success. I believe that would help tremendous for my son to be able to live a normal happy live. God bless us all. Thank you.

  11. Jill Boomer says:

    I have always thought this was the key – I am 62 years old and in a wheelchair 24/7. All I want to do is stand up by myself, get dressed by myself, etc. I am thanking the research team ahead of time. We have to think positive.

  12. Teresa says:

    I’m always willing to try something new for my stage 2 ms
    I’m almost 38 and have had me since 2006. It affects me more on the inside than on the outside. I’ve been on several different ms therapies and none have worked
    I’m up for a new breakthrough with new therapies.

  13. Harold McAlpine says:

    It looks to me like there is no problem finding individuals to participate in clinical trials. I have Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis. It would be absolutely wonderful to be able to participate!

    • Pipeline says:

      Update, we have identified a potential development candidate and will begin IND enabling studies this year. The goal is to File an IND early 2020 and begin a clinic trial first half of 2020.

  14. Update, we have made significant progress with our remyelination program. We are on track to initiate a phase 1 safety evaluation trial in 2020 for our M1R antagonist “PIPE-307”.

  15. David A Hoenshell says:

    How do I go about signing up for this program? I have PPMS and am 66 years old and have very limited mobility with walker around home and am exhausted going from one room to another. Will this trial evaluation be available in the Pittsburgh, Pa area?

  16. Pipeline says:

    We do not yet have details regarding trial design. We are required first to demonstrate safety in healthy volunteers. This will likely occur in 2020. If we pass that hurdle we will move forward into an MS setting. We plan to post our progress at pipelinetherapeutics.com.

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