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Michael J. Fox Foundation awards $2M to Swedish company to develop first treatment

Rebecca Barnabi
lab with researcher and test tubes
(© Yuliia – stock.adobe.com)

A Swedish company working to discover and develop novel treatments for Parkinson’s Disease announced entrance into a grant agreement with the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF).

MJFF awarded IRLAB Therapeutics AB more than $2 million to support the development of IRL757 for the treatment of apathy.

A widespread and debilitating issue, apathy affects more than 20 million individuals in the United States and Europe, and an available treatment does not exist.
“The Michael J. Fox Foundation is always looking for ways to address the unmet needs of people with Parkinson’s. IRLAB’s novel approach to treating apathy has the potential to alter an impactful symptom for people affected by Parkinson’s — both patients and families – offering relief where it is currently difficult to find. We look forward to seeing this research progress,” MJFF’s Senior Vice President of Clinical Research Dr. Catherine Kopil said.
 MJFF provides support and access to leading expertise with extensive experience within Parkinson’s disease. The grant will be used to conduct the first-in-man Phase I clinical study of IRL757, a drug candidate in development as a novel treatment of apathy. An effective treatment for apathy, both in Parkinson’s disease and in other neurological disorders, can transform the lives of millions of people who today are left without an effective treatment.
 
The grant was awarded under MJFF’s program ‘Parkinson’s disease Therapeutics Pipeline Program,’ a program that seeks to advance preclinical and/or clinical testing of promising therapeutic developments that address unmet medical needs in people with Parkinson’s disease. The program benefits therapeutics with clear potential to prevent, stop or delay disease progression or reduce the burden of daily symptoms.
“We are grateful to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for their recognition of our work and their generous support. We see this grant as an expression of confidence in our innovative approach to tackling unmet needs, including apathy, in Parkinson’s disease. With MJFF’s support, we are positioned to advance IRL757 through a crucial Phase I study. It is exciting to have support from the highly reputed MJFF organization,” IRLAB CEO Gunnar Olsson said.
MJFF is the world’s largest nonprofit funder of Parkinson’s research and is dedicated to accelerating a cure for Parkinson’s disease and improved therapies for those living with the condition today. The Foundation pursues its goals through an aggressively funded, highly targeted research program coupled with active global engagement of scientists, Parkinson’s patients, business leaders, clinical trial participants, donors, and volunteers.
The drug candidate IRL757 has completed all preclinical studies and development work necessary to start Phase I. The clinical trial application (CTA) to be submitted to the regulatory authority is currently under preparation. IRL757 could become the first treatment for apathy, and has shown promising results in various preclinical models, which assess different aspects of cognitive function and motivation. IRL757 is believed to be capable of reversing disruption in cortical to sub-cortical nerve signaling, a key factor believed to contribute to apathy in neurological disorders.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.