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Herantis Pharma initiates non-invasive CDNF development program

Published 09 July 2018

Herantis Pharma has initiated a non-invasive CDNF development program to broaden the application of CDNF in Parkinson’s disease and potentially other neurodegenerative disorders.

In conjunction, Herantis and the University of Helsinki have signed a licensing agreement granting Herantis worldwide, exclusive rights for the therapeutic application of a non-invasive CDNF approach based on a modification of the natural CDNF.

Herantis is currently evaluating natural CDNF in a Phase 1-2 clinical study at three European university hospitals. In the study, CDNF is injected directly into the brain using a delivery system suited for Parkinson’s disease patients. 

Building on Herantis’ drug development expertise, the company will advance also the non-invasive CDNF to translate the new discoveries into clinical programs.

“Non-invasive CDNF is an important expansion to our existing patent estate and strengthens the profile and value of our CDNF program. Our focus as a company is to develop our unique clinical assets for patients in need. Identifying innovative opportunities to improve the technology and expand the application potential is part of our core strategy,” said Pekka Simula, Herantis’ CEO.

 “Based on broad and robust preclinical data, we believe CDNF can make a significant difference in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease and we look forward to exploring the new possibilities a non-invasive administration could offer to provide the best product for the benefit of patients.”

CDNF is a potent neuroprotective factor that promotes neuronal survival. In preclinical proof-of-concept studies CDNF has demonstrated beneficial effects in Parkinson’s disease alleviating both motor and non-motor symptoms and stopping disease progression.

“We have previously shown that CDNF protects and recovers neurons from degeneration, neuroinflammation and endoplasmic reticulum stress, critical contributors to many neurodegenerative diseases,” explained professor Mart Saarma of the Institute of Biotechnology, HiLIFE, University of Helsinki, a world leading expert in neuronal survival and neurotrophic factor research.

 “It is exciting to see the progress Pekka and his team have made in translating our findings into an investigational product and bringing it to Parkinson’s patients. Our recent discoveries provide an opportunity to target numerous indications beyond Parkinson’s with simpler administration and broader distribution while maintaining the full potential of CDNF and I look forward to supporting the company in its development efforts.”

Herantis’ non-invasive CDNF development program is currently in discovery stage. Target indications for possible future clinical development have not been disclosed.

Source: Company Press Release