GeNeuro, a biopharmaceutical company developing new treatments for neurological disorders and autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis (MS), has announced the signing of a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the NIH, to develop novel therapeutic antibodies for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The research will evaluate the ability of these antibodies to neutralise a potential causal factor of ALS, the envelope protein of HERV-K (a family of Human Endogenous Retroviruses, HERVs).
Under the terms of the agreement, GeNeuro will provide antibodies designed to block the activity of HERV-K envelope protein. These candidate antibodies will be tested in cellular and animal models of HERV-K associated ALS by the NINDS with the aim to achieve preclinical proof-of-concept of this novel therapeutic avenue addressing ALS pathogenesis.
“This agreement truly combines the strengths of both parties; the pioneering work done by GeNeuro in the HERV field, especially in the development of antibodies able to neutralize HERV encoded proteins in associated diseases, and the excellent NIH research on the involvement of HERV-K in sporadic ALS led by Dr. Avindra Nath and his group,” said Hervé Perron, chief scientific officer at GeNeuro. “With this partnership, we aim to show that blocking this pathogenic HERV protein could lead to a novel ALS treatment and, in time, expand the GeNeuro clinical pipeline into additional neurological disorders.”
Dr. Nath and his research group recently discovered the targeted expression and the pathogenic effects of the envelope protein from HERV-K in ALS. Furthermore, the NIH team has developed cellular and transgenic mouse models that can be used to evaluate the anti-HERV-K antibodies as therapeutics candidates to treat ALS. “We are excited about this collaboration as an initial step towards developing a therapeutic approach for altering the course of the disease for patients with ALS,” said Dr. Nath, clinical director at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).