Landos, Johns Hopkins Partner to Advance Potential MS Oral Therapy

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by Teresa Carvalho, MS |

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Landos Biopharma has entered into a research partnership with Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine focused on advancing LABP-66 as a potential oral, once-daily therapy for multiple sclerosis (MS) and other disorders, the company announced.

LABP-66 is a lab-made molecule that activates NLRX1, a receptor that is key in regulating central nervous system inflammation and preventing autoimmunity, both features of MS.

A Phase 1 clinical trial (NCT04458805) in healthy volunteers showed that NX-13 — a molecule also designed by Landos Biopharma to activate NLRX1 — showed safety and tolerability across multiple doses, the company reported in a March release.

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Landos is planning to request permission to bring LABP-66 into a clinical trial next year, evaluating its role in treating autoimmune diseases and the importance of the NLRX1 pathway in the control of immune cells.

“Similar to our pioneering work on the NLRX1 pathway in autoimmune diseases and the recent positive, de-risking results for NX-13, our lead NLRX1 agonist for ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, we are excited to further investigate the translatability of these ground-breaking scientific discoveries in treating CNS [central nervous system] diseases and look forward to advancing LABP-66 … into clinical testing,” Josep Bassaganya-Riera, PhD, chairman, president, and CEO of Landos, said in the press release.

LABP-66 acts on the NLRX1 pathway in the CNS, and in preclinical work has shown positive results on both inflammatory cells and brain cells, the company reported. The therapy is thought to protect neurons from oxidative stress (an imbalance in the production of harmful molecules that can lead to cell damage and death) and ease inflammation in the CNS.

Company research complements that of Peter Calabresi, MD, director of the Multiple Sclerosis Center and a professor of neurology at the Hopkins School of Medicine.

Calabresi will lead this research effort to further validate the NLRX1 pathway in MS, which is being funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

“We are honored to collaborate with Dr. Calabresi to continue research on the NLRX1 pathway with the goal to develop disease-modifying precision therapies in central nervous system (CNS) disorders, including MS,” Bassaganya-Riera said.

LABP-66 is currently in studies to assess its potential toxicity risks and to estimate starting doses for clinical trials, called Investigational New Drug (IND)-enabling studies and required for such trials. Landos reported that this work to date shows that oral treatment with LABP-66 can reduce markers of inflammation, brain cell damage, and disease activity scores.

In addition to MS, LABP-66 is also being investigated as a potential therapy for Alzheimer’s disease.

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