NervGen Sets Advisory Board to Support Upcoming NVG-291 Trial

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by Marisa Wexler MS |

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NervGen Pharma announced the formation of its multiple sclerosis (MS) clinical advisory board, a group of experts who will work with the company as it prepares to start a Phase 2 clinical trial next year testing its lead compound, NVG-291, in people with MS.

“We are honored to have assembled such an esteemed and dedicated group of experts willing to share their combined decades of experience to advise us on our upcoming Phase 2 study and overall MS clinical development program,” Paul Brennan, president and CEO of NervGen, said in a press release.

The company’s new global advisory board includes six experts in neurology and multiple sclerosis who have each done extensive research in the field, taking part in numerous clinical trials.

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Three are from the United States: Peter Calabresi, MD, a professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, in Maryland; Jeffrey Cohen, MD, a professor in the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, in Ohio; and Robert Naismith, MD, a professor at Washington University, in Missouri.

Board member Anneke van der Walt, MD, PhD, is a professor at Monash University, in Melbourne, Australia, while Jack Antel, MD, is a professor at McGill University, in Montreal, Canada, and Jeremy Chataway, MD, is a professor at University College London, in the U.K.

“Our ability to attract these top tier scientific and clinical experts … reflects the unique and significant potential of our therapeutic platform to treating damage to the central nervous system,” Brennan said.

MS is caused by an immune system attack that damages the myelin sheath — a fatty coating around nerve cells, or neurons, that helps them to send electrical signals. To date, every approved treatment for MS has worked by limiting the activity of the immune system and reducing the damage done by such attacks.

By contrast, according to NervGen, NVG-291 aims to promote remyelination or the regeneration of lost myelin. The investigational medication consists of a peptide — a small protein — that modulates protein tyrosine phosphatase sigma, a protein that normally blocks nerve repair following injury. Independent investigations have demonstrated that NVG-291-like compounds can promote remyelination in mouse models of MS.

“Whilst currently approved disease-modifying therapies for MS target the immune system with the aim of reducing inflammatory activity and relapses and slowing disease progression, NVG-291 offers a distinctly different and powerful approach aimed at sustained improvement of function,” said Dan Mikol, MD, PhD, NervGen’s chief medical officer.

“NVG-291 has the potential to repair damage caused by MS and would represent a completely new treatment paradigm for those suffering from MS,” Mikol added.

NervGen is currently conducting a Phase 1 clinical trial of NVG-291 in healthy volunteers to explore its safety profile and how the medication is processed in the body. The company also is planning to start a Phase 1 trial soon in people with Alzheimer’s disease.

The Phase 2 trials in individuals with MS and spinal cord injury are planned to begin in 2022.

The announcement of NervGen’s MS clinical advisory board comes in advance of the World Federation of Neurology’s annual World Brain Day on July 22. This year, the focus of the event is to “Stop Multiple Sclerosis.”

“With this year’s World Brain Day focusing on both the industry and public’s attention on the life altering and often devastating effects of MS, we are both excited and proud to be moving a potentially game-changing therapy into a MS clinical trial next year,” Brennan said.

“NVG-291 is the culmination of over twenty years of research and represents the emergence of an exciting new drug class to the pharmaceutical industry and to the central nervous system space specifically,” Brennan concluded.

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