Convelo Therapeutics and Genentech Join Forces to Develop Remyelination Therapies

Convelo Therapeutics and Genentech Join Forces to Develop Remyelination Therapies

Convelo Therapeutics has announced a collaboration with Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, to work toward the development of new remyelination therapies for multiple sclerosis (MS) and other myelin disorders.

“We are excited to be working with Genentech to discover and develop first-in-class therapies for patients suffering from diseases driven by myelin loss such as multiple sclerosis. This partnership combines the strengths of our two organizations to potentially bring new medicines to patients,” Derrick Rossi, PhD, CEO at Convelo, said in a press release.

Myelin is a fatty substance that coats nerve cells, sort of like a sheath, and insulates them. It helps the nerve cells function properly, and send electrical signals more efficiently.

Several neurological disorders, including MS, are characterized by a loss of myelin. In MS, the immune system starts to attack myelin, damaging it, and ultimately leading to impaired nerve cell activity. This, in turn, leads to the development of MS symptoms.

Most disease-modifying treatments for MS are focused on reducing the activity of the immune cells, with the intent of preventing further damage. However, stopping the immune system’s attack doesn’t do anything to reverse or mitigate the damage that has already been done. To achieve that, a treatment would need to actively help restore myelin to damaged neurons, through a process called remyelination.

Remyelinating therapies are the “holy grail” of MS treatments, since these therapies could, in theory, do more than just prevent disease progression. However, as of now, there are no approved MS therapies aimed at remyelination.

Through this collaboration, Convelo and Genetech intend to join forces to develop new therapies that can help to fill this unmet need. The partnership will build on the remyelinating targets and proprietary screening platform developed by Convelo’s scientific founders, Paul Tesar and Drew Adams.

“There have been important treatment advancements for people living with multiple sclerosis, but many still experience disability progression,” said James Sabry, MD, PhD, the global head of pharma partnering at Roche. “Novel medicines that regenerate the myelin around nerve cells could help address this significant need.

“We look forward to collaborating with Convelo to hopefully deliver new options to people with multiple sclerosis and other neurological disorders,” he added.

As part of the agreement, Convelo will receive an upfront payment of an undisclosed amount, as well as research support, from Genetech. In return, Genetech gets the exclusive right to purchase all outstanding stock of Convelo for an additional undisclosed amount, and further unspecified milestones.

Marisa holds an MS in Cellular and Molecular Pathology from the University of Pittsburgh, where she studied novel genetic drivers of ovarian cancer. She specializes in cancer biology, immunology, and genetics. Marisa began working with BioNews in 2018, and has written about science and health for SelfHacked and the Genetics Society of America. She also writes/composes musicals and coaches the University of Pittsburgh fencing club.
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Marisa holds an MS in Cellular and Molecular Pathology from the University of Pittsburgh, where she studied novel genetic drivers of ovarian cancer. She specializes in cancer biology, immunology, and genetics. Marisa began working with BioNews in 2018, and has written about science and health for SelfHacked and the Genetics Society of America. She also writes/composes musicals and coaches the University of Pittsburgh fencing club.
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21 comments

  1. Harry says:

    This could be awesome. Dr.Tesar has done a lot of research on this issue. Genetech is a large and giving company. This could really help all of us.

    • Jennifer Sand Bodurtha says:

      I have had MS for 30 years and I am now 58. Gone thru many meds and also include vitamin D and B12. Hope research includes D and B12. I can still walk, with a walker, and consider myself very fortunate.

  2. Debbie Cowles says:

    If you are looking for Human trial participants, I would love to have consideration as being readily available and highly interested in being studied for anything that would improve my life.

  3. Helene m Patterson says:

    Hopefully it won’t take years to research. They have already tested mice and regenerated myelin repair.

  4. Erik Johnson says:

    After 7 years I was able to “convince” my new neurologist that I had Primary Progressive instead of Relapsing Remitting Ms since I never had a “Clinical” relapse since often MRI’s never showed flare ups or any new lesions. During those first 7 years I was prescribed Avonex for 6 years then tecfidera and a couple others that I can’t remember (thanks MS for robbing me of short term memory loss). I have now been on ocrevus for 2 infusions with no noticeable stop in progression. This treatment sounds like a true treatment for me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Cindy Watkins says:

    I’ve been praying for this from the very start of my MS in 1992. If they find a way to remyelinate, they may even find the cure or cause.

    • jill judd says:

      Check out HSCT. It’s a life changer! Works for both MS and CIDP. Chigago, Russia and Mexico are the top three providers in the world.

  6. DOUGLAS E SALVATI says:

    This is great news. My lifr, like many many others, has been turned upside down by MS. I want to run, ski and fly again…and more importantly work again. I sure hope they’re successful.

  7. david l. kirchner says:

    Yes, fantastic. Pharmaceutical companies are always lambasted in the media. I tell people all the time about the fantastic things these companies do. I had my Tysabri provided free for 2 years by these companies. Get the government and these ill informed media/watchdog groups off their backs and they could probably cure death it self!

  8. David Boutwell says:

    This is wonderful news. However, bad does come with the good. I do agree in part that medical pharmaceutical companies can do wonderful things with their research. And, it is this tremendously expensive research that causes the medicines created to be so expensive-the bad.
    Somehow, a mutually agreed upon solution must be worked out so the pharmaceuticals can keep Wall Street happy and the average ill Jane can comfortably afford the medicines.

  9. Kent says:

    I wish the authors of the “Right to Try” bill that the president signed, would have included, not only terminal illness, but incurable diseases could participate in trying new medications in the pipeline.

  10. Danny Butler says:

    Please be very sure. My wife just passed away with every symptom of PML after two treatments with Ocrevus

  11. Wilma says:

    Well I don’t think people like me living on a small island in the Caribbean will ever get to even try that treatment however that would be great if this works.

  12. Karla Starkey says:

    Would this medicine help old nerves that have demylination. I have had MS for 40 years.
    It is noe SP MS. Please tell me if you think this medicine could help me.

  13. Mike says:

    Hopefully this doesn’t take 10 years to develop as it did with Ocrevus. We all need are lives back that have MS. I have been reading about mice models that they have regenerated myeline I prey for this day come.

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