Sanofi Genzyme announced that it entered into a research collaboration with the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine to better understand the underlying causes of disease progression in multiple sclerosis (MS).
Sanofi Genzyme has a number of research partnerships with MS academic medical centers, focused on exploring the pathogenesis of MS and potential new therapies. Projects include the identification of biomarkers of disease progression, and the development of strategies to address neurodegeneration, which is thought to be a key factor for MS disability accumulation.
The collaboration will be guided by a joint committee of representatives from Sanofi Genzyme and the Johns Hopkins Multiple Sclerosis Center — one of the largest clinical and research MS centers worldwide — to leverage technologies and methodologies specifically designed to advance new therapeutic approaches to treat MS progression.
“While there are currently no approved treatments for progressive forms of MS, the research landscape is evolving to where we are learning more about the underlying biology of disease progression,” Michael Panzara, MD, Sanofi Genzyme’s head of MS, Neurology and Ophtalmology Therapeutic Area, Global Development, said in a press release. “Collaborations like this are important to advancing interventional strategies that slow relentless progression in MS. We are excited about the potential of this collaboration to advance our understanding of disease progression, enabling more rapid development of the next generation of MS therapies.”
MS is a progressive, debilitating, immune-mediated neurodegenerative disease, in which the myelin sheath — the insulation covering all neurons — in the central nervous system becomes damaged due to inflammation. In MS, the body’s own immune system attacks myelin, disturbing and progressively destroying the conduction of nerve impulses, which can ultimately lead to complications such as impaired vision, and loss of balance and of control over voluntary muscles. MS is estimated to affect 2 million to 2.5 million people worldwide, with women affected two or three times as often as men.
Sanofi Genzyme is one of five global business units of its parent company, Sanofi, with a focus on specialty care and difficult to treat diseases.