A New Zealand biotechnology company, CuroNZ, received funding from the US National Multiply Sclerosis Society worth $540,000 to be used in pre-clinical studies. The Auckland-based firm will begin testing the Neural Regeneration Peptides (NRPs) as a possible treatment to multiple sclerosis which affects 2.5 million people all over the world.
A New Zealand biotechnology company, CuroNZ, receives funding from the US National Multiply Sclerosis Society worth $540,000 to be used in pre-clinical studies. The Auckland-based firm will begin testing the Neural Regeneration Peptides (NRPs) as a possible treatment to multiple sclerosis which affects 2.5 million people all over the world.
Frank Sieg established the company in 2009 and began his work on developing NRPs in Germany more than ten years ago. Mr Sieg said the naturally occurring NRPs cause changes in brain matter.
Based on initial studies, high doses of synthetically manufactured NRPs had shown promise in repairing damage caused by multiple sclerosis to the brain. The drug may unlock the key to finally stop the progression of the illness.
Aki von Roy, executive chairman of CuroNZ, said the U.S. funding was considered a big boost and vote of confidence to the drug as a potentially effective treatment to multiple sclerosis. The U.S. National Multiple Sclerosis Society did not put its money in "simple concepts", according to Mr Roy.
Mr Roy added that the U.S. organisation only invests in products that will have a big impact on patients with multiple sclerosis around the world. If all will go according to plan, CuroNZ may get an additional $540,000 from the U.S. society.
For the pre-clinical trials, the NRPs will be tested on dogs and mice before proceeding to Phase 1 of human clinical trials. This would help assess human safeness of NRPs. CuroNZ will also need to conduct more trials to ensure effectiveness of the drug.
The new multiple sclerosis treatment would require the approval of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Mr Roy said the new drug could possibly hit the market by 2020.
The global multiple sclerosis market is worth $15 billion every year. However, only 45 per cent of patients afflicted with the disease can be treated since there is currently no cure available for progressive multiple sclerosis.
The remaining 55 per cent of total population of patients will be the targets of CuroNZ. Mr Roy also believed that the NRPs may treat other types of illnesses. People suffering from Parkinson's, spinal injuries and strokes may be treated with NRPs.
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