Rewind Therapeutics Receives Research Grant to Develop New Remyelination Medicines for MS

Rewind Therapeutics Receives Research Grant to Develop New Remyelination Medicines for MS

The development of new medicines to treat myelin-related neurological diseases, such as multiple sclerosis (MS), has been given a boost by a €2.9 million (about $3.2 million) research grant awarded to the Belgian biotech company Rewind Therapeutics by the Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship (VLAIO). 

Rewind Therapeutics will engage in an industry-academic research and development collaboration with the Stem Cell Institute at the KU Leuven (KUL) and imec, a research and innovation hub in nanoelectronics and digital technologies, to leverage key areas of biological and technological expertise in Flanders, Belgium.

Rewind Therapeutics is developing remyelination therapies for neurological diseases. They will design new inhibitors to block signals originating from key GPCRs (G protein-coupled receptors) that prevent the growth and migration of myelin-producing oligodendrocyte stem cells, and their subsequent maturation and differentiation. 

“Therapies that promote myelin repair would represent an unprecedented approach to treating multiple progressive neurological diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, and could prevent or reverse disability,” Ian J. Reynolds, CEO of Rewind Therapeutics, said in a press release.

“We are delighted to collaborate with world-leading teams in Flanders, and further afield to discover and advance candidate molecules that may arise from the program. We are also grateful for the financial support from VLAIO, and pleased to support its mission of advancing world-class innovation in the Flanders region,” Reynolds said.

The role of KUL in the project will be to provide expertise in nerve stem cell generation and differentiation. The institute will create new cellular screening assays to test anti-GPCR small molecules for their potential to induce nerve remyelination.

“We believe that our unique expertise with stem cells destined to become nerve cells such as oligodendrocytes, will be highly valuable as part of this new initiative to advance the understanding of re-myelination, and the identification of new approaches to repair damaged nerves,” said Catherine Verfaillie, head of the KUL Stem Cell Institute.

Imec’s role in the project will be to devise a chip-based engineering approach to measure nerve myelination.

“Imec, with a broad neurotechnology portfolio, engages in various research projects that aim to push forward the understanding of the brain and the development of therapies for neurological diseases. We are excited to leverage our multielectrode array (MEA) chip platform and neural interfacing technology to help find new therapeutics for neurological diseases,” said Dries Braeken, research and development manager at imec.

VLAIO provides encouragement and support for entrepreneurs, assisting in training, advice, investments, and research and development. They also help foreign investors establish or expand businesses, in addition to facilitating active collaborations and fostering competitiveness.

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8 comments

  1. Helene m Patterson says:

    I hope that this does not take years to develop. I believe this will help many people including me. I lost my ability to walk without assistance 4 years ago.

    • Danny says:

      So true, Helene. The myelin repair foundation – mrg.org – had a working model for myelin repair and proved it worked, at least in the lab. Not much from them since 2015. Seems to me there have been other organizations that tried and disappeared over the years.

  2. Michael says:

    This is a great step toward therapies for remyelination, and should definitely help many people regain some control over the disease.

    But…

    I really wish these news stories would explain that therapies like this will only help a certain set of people with MS–namely those who haven’t developed MS very long. The people with myelin damage ONLY should definitely see a tremendous difference. But those of us with damage to the actual nerves–usually persons with MS over many years–will see no improvement whatsoever, or possibly tiny improvements in thing like fatigue. Remyelination is great, but it doesn’t help destroyed nerve fibers… can’t grow back what isn’t there. These stories can promote hope for those newly diagnosed, or those with relapsing remitting course that’s under 10 years since diagnosis and hasn’t progressed much. Unfortunately they can’t for those who have lost abilities for some time, and should really explain that in the stories. Otherwise it’s really unfair and cruel.

  3. Jo Hubchik says:

    Interesting that another country has interest in curing MS. US pharma just keeps putting out more treatments to continue the obscene annuities they receive from patients. I’d love to know how someone can make contributions to companies focused on cures.

  4. JuNae Sorenson Jones says:

    I’m hoping and praying everyday for something to help me get outside and enjoy nature I have been stuck inside since September 2018 and I pray for something that will help I’m 42 look like I’m 27 and I haven’t met my purpose in life I still have 2 kids at home I’m unable to cook or clean.

  5. Debra Barton says:

    I know what you mean. Soon we might read that it was tested on 43 people in Iraq, Siberia and Easter Island, but further testing will be needed.

    Then we will forget about it.

  6. Julia Farris says:

    I have had MS for 19 years now, considered SPMS. I have very few lesions on my brain – the majority of the lesions were on my spine. I have tried to research the information that Michael (August 2) stated that those of us who have had MS so long would not benefit from remyleination therapies and I can’t find anything. My neuro told me that whatever function I have not lost could be improved upon if remyleination therapy comes to pass – I have lost most of my left leg and it is slowly taking my right, although I still try every day to walk on it, which is what the neuro told me. I still type although my left hand is partially numb and I continue to type and write so as to keep the function in my hands and arms. Hopefully, remyleination therapy can still help me, even if only a little bit, if the Lord wills!

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