--Fast Forward, EMD Serono, Create Innovative Funding Program to Advance Multiple Sclerosis Treatment--
AUCKLAND, New Zealand--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Innate Therapeutics today announced funding support from Fast Forward, LLC, a not-for-profit organization established by the U.S. National Multiple Sclerosis Society and EMD Serono, an affiliate of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. The award of funds will help support the conduct of a Phase 2A clinical trial in patients with progressive forms of MS using MIS416, a naturally occurring agent derived from bacteria. “We are delighted to gain this substantial funding as well as to be able to work with Fast Forward and their collaborative partner, EMD Serono,” said Simon Wilkinson, the Chief Executive Officer of Innate Therapeutics.
The award from Fast Forward and EMD Serono, which provides US $550,000 over 15 months is one of the first given in the Accelerating Commercial Development category from a funding program designed to accelerate the development of research discoveries into new or improved therapies for people with multiple sclerosis.
“We are pleased to announce the 2009 funding recipients who will work to advance promising early- and late-stage projects in MS that could ultimately help patients,” said Bernhard Kirschbaum, PhD, Executive Vice President, Global Research and Development at Merck Serono, an affiliate of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. “EMD Serono is committed to advancing scientific and medical knowledge and to furthering key research that has the potential to help people living with MS.”
“The promise of current research like that undertaken by Innate Therapeutics to change the MS landscape is exciting, and it fuels the collaboration between Fast Forward and EMD Serono in advancing science in key areas of focus to speed the development of new therapies and innovations to benefit people living with MS. We are proud to be able to provide resources for those working to end MS and look forward to seeing the results stemming from these projects,” said Dr. Timothy Coetzee, President of Fast Forward.
MIS416 is the lead product from Innate Therapeutics’ proprietary microparticle immune stimulant (MIS) technology. In addition to its potential use in MS, the company is conducting preclinical studies of MIS416 in other applications, including oncology co-therapy and the treatment of infectious diseases. MIS technology is based on the use of a bacterially derived, therapeutic microparticle incorporating multiple naturally occurring ligands, which when administered can activate synergistic innate immune signaling pathways. By activating and/or regulating important innate system mechanisms, Innate Therapeutic’s microparticle immunomodulator technology presents a new way to fight infections and certain cancers, and to treat select autoimmune diseases.
About Fast Forward, LLC
Fast Forward, LLC, established by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society as part of a comprehensive approach to MS research and treatment, focuses on speeding promising research discoveries towards commercial drug development. Fast Forward accelerates the development of treatments for MS by connecting university-based MS research with private-sector drug development and by funding small biotechnology/pharmaceutical companies to develop innovative new MS therapies and repurpose FDA-approved drugs as new treatments for MS. For more information, please visit www.fastforward.org.
About Innate Therapeutics Limited
Innate Therapeutics Limited is a public unlisted biopharmaceutical company based in Auckland, NZ. The company is focused on the development of a new generation of immune response modifier for potential use in the treatment of multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune disease, a range of infectious diseases, certain cancers, and as a novel cellular and humoral adjuvant.
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