Frequency Names Advisory Board to Guide Remyelination Work for MS

Aiming to move small molecule, reported to aid myelin sheath repair, into trials

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by Patricia Inacio, PhD |

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Frequency Therapeutics has established a clinical advisory board, with experts across neuroscience fields, to help guide its small molecule treatment candidate for remyelination in multiple sclerosis (MS) into clinical testing.

The company is planning to initiate a first trial of the molecule, designed to boost remyelination — the repair of the myelin sheath that is progressively lost in MS — in the second half of 2023.

“While a number of approved drugs are highly effective in preventing new inflammatory lesions, stopping gradual neurodegeneration and gradual clinical worsening remain the greatest areas of unmet need,” Richard Rudick, MD, a member of Frequency’s Remyelination Clinical Advisory Board, said in a company press release.

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The myelin sheath is a fatty substance that covers nerve fibers to help them send electrical signals more efficiently. Inflammatory attacks due to MS damage this sheath, affecting nerve cell communication and causing a range of disease symptoms.

While myelin can be repaired or replaced by myelin-producing cells called oligodendrocytes, this process tends to be less than optimal in MS, due to factors that include ongoing inflammation and aging.

Frequency is leveraging its Progenitor Cell Activation (PCA) approach to harnesses the power of the body’s innate regenerative potential to repair tissues and restore their function.

Its MS program aims to develop novel, small-molecule therapeutics that temporarily activate immature oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) and turn them into mature, myelin-making oligodendrocytes. This is expected to improve myelin repair and potentially halt, or even reverse, MS progression.

The company did not disclose the treatment target identified and validated by its scientists. Rather, its reported on its website that preclinical studies showed its lead compound, FREQ-162, triggered the maturation of progenitor cells into oligodendrocytes. These new cells were found to be capable of producing myelin in a preclinical model of demyelination.

“Supported by impressive preclinical data generated to date, Frequency has an opportunity to develop an entirely new therapy to address remyelination, and potentially provide those with MS with a first-in-class medicine with the hope of repairing damage caused by this challenging disease,” said Rudick, a former director of the Mellon Center at the Cleveland Clinic.

Rudick had “key roles” in the development of two approved MS therapies, Avonex (interferon beta-1a) and Tysabri (natalizumab), the release stated.

The Remyelination Clinical Advisory Board also includes Laura J. Balcer, MD, whose career has been focused on the development of visual outcome measures for MS clinical trials; Alasdair Coles, PhD, who was involved in the development of Lemtrada (alemtuzumab); and Steven Galetta, MD, with expertise in clinical, radiological, and research aspects of MS.

“We are grateful to have the opportunity to work with world-class leaders in neurology and multiple sclerosis on our newly formed Clinical Advisory Board. Their expertise developing transformative medicines for serious neurological diseases will be invaluable as we advance our remyelination program into clinical studies,” said Christopher Loose, PhD, Frequency’s chief scientific officer.

James Rothman, PhD, a winner of the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2013, will also join the company’s PCA Regenerative Medicine Advisory Board.

“Dr. Rothman is among the preeminent cell biologists in the world and his scientific insights will help inform our efforts for optimally applying our regenerative medicine technology for the treatment of human disease,” Loose added.

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