NeuroVive sets up shop in France to boost stroke R&D, snag state grants

NeuroVive Pharmaceutical (STO:NVP) is putting down roots in France. The mitochondrial-protection specialist has had a toehold in the country for years through its alliance with Hospices Civils de Lyon (HCL) and has decided now is the time to formalize its presence.

NeuroVive CEO Mikael Brönnegård

Stockholm, Sweden-based NeuroVive currently employs one person on a consultancy basis in Lyon, France but this week laid the groundwork for a more substantial presence in the city. NeuroVive now has a subsidiary in Lyon, a legal status that positions it to apply for French funding grants. A joint application with HCL and others for a €10 million ($10.7 million), 5-year stroke project is currently being considered by the authorities. If successful, NeuroVive will hire staff to handle the project.

"Initially, there will be one to two [clinical research associates] to manage the clinical trial program and a lab assistant to manage the initial preclinical studies. Depending on the progress of the projects, additional research staff might be hired during the course of the operations," NeuroVive CEO Mikael Brönnegård told FierceBiotech. NeuroVive is planning to move into a laboratory at the Bioparc in Lyon at which it already has an office.

The push into France includes an expanded relationship with HCL, which is set to collaborate with NeuroVive on the development of a treatment for stroke. NeuroVive has been plugging away at the tough indication for years. In 2010, the company teamed up with to-BBB to develop a stroke treatment but the Dutch biotech--which filed for bankruptcy in January--dropped out when the deal came up for renewal at the end of 2014.

NeuroVive is now ploughing ahead in a research collaboration with British biotech Isomerase Therapeutics. And is seeking the €10 million grant to fund its clinical-phase activities. "The focus [of the grant proposal] is to fund a Phase IIb/III clinical trial in stroke patients with NeuroVive´s product NeuroSTAT and to evaluate new chemical entities for potential drug delivery to the brain cross the blood brain barrier," Brönnegård said.

- read the Lyon release
- here's the stroke news