NeuroScientific Biopharmaceuticals (ASX: NSB) has published positive preliminary results from a pre-clinical study of its lead compound EmtinB in treating multiple sclerosis (MS).
The full report is set to be published by the end of this month, although according to the company’s chief executive officer Matthew Liddelow, the early results already indicate a “potential breakthrough” and confirm that EmtinB does, in fact, increase myelin formation significantly – a key benchmark in the race to develop an effective treatment for the debilitating condition.
The French-based study looked at EmtinB’s impact in an MS model, in which the compound’s therapeutic potential was assessed against the leading marketed drug Copaxone, an immunomodulator medication currently used to treat MS globally.
The results indicated that EmtinB “significantly increased” myelin formation at concentrations of 30 micrograms per millilitre, 60μg/ml, 120 μg/ml and 150μg/ml. Also, EmtinB increased myelin formation by more than 30% at 150μg/ml concentration and by more than 25% at 120μg/ml in comparison to Copaxone.
Treating multiple sclerosis
MS is a chronic, disabling neurodegenerative disease in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the myelin sheath that surrounds the body’s nerve fibres.
The condition typically affects the brain and spinal cord, causing a wide range of potential symptoms, including vision impairment, involuntary limb movement and loss of sensation and balance. The condition is highly debilitating, progressive and has no cure.
In previous clinical studies, Copaxone was shown to reduce the frequency of relapses but has stopped short of reducing the progression of disability.
The drug is currently considered to be the leading therapeutic treatment for MS and has thereby generated peak sales revenue of approximately US$4 billion (A$5.7 billion).
However, given the drug serves as only a partial solution that does not reduce the progress of disability, several pharmaceutical companies are vying to develop the first drug that can turn the tide against the condition and help patients recover, rather than just muting the severe symptoms.
According to market research, the current MS market including total drug sales is estimated to be worth more than US$20 billion (A$29 billion) with 2.3 million patients suffering from the disease worldwide.
“Whilst we previously showed that EmtinB could positively influence the proliferation of myelin-forming oligodendrocytes in an MS model, these results go a step further to demonstrate that EmtinB significantly increases actual myelin formation”, Mr Liddelow said.
“These results represent a potential breakthrough in the treatment of MS as there are currently no approved therapeutic drugs available to patients that have demonstrated the ability to regenerate myelin in the central nervous system,” he added.
In morning trade, shares in Neuroscientific were up 22.5% to $0.245.