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Collaboration to develop new Parkinson's Disease dyskinesia treatment

Published on 06/09/06 at 03:15pm

Santhera Pharmaceuticals is collaborating with Finnish biotech company Juvantia Pharma to develop a treatment for dyskinesia, the distressing involuntary movements experienced by patients taking levodopa for Parkinson's disease.

Levodopa is the gold standard therapy for Parkinson's disease, but as many as 20% of patients develop troublesome dyskinesia within five years of starting levodopa treatment, and it has been estimated that at least 200,000 PD patients in Europe and the US suffer from severe PD dyskinesia.

A phase IIb clinical trial is aimed at confirming the encouraging results produced in an earlier US clinical trial for Juvantia's fipamezole (JP-1730), which has now been granted fast-track status by the FDA.

Switzerland-based Santhera focuses on neuromuscular diseases, and will conduct and fund development work on the new drug.

Fipamezole is an alpha-2 adrenergic receptor antagonist, offering a novel mode of action to treat dyskinesia in Parkinson's disease (PD).

According to Santhera, fipamezole was able to reduce levodopa-induced dyskinesias and prolong levodopa's duration action in a trial carried out in unison with the US National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Dr Juha-Matti Savola, former chief executive of Juvantia has joined Santhera as director of clinical development and will be responsible for the fipamezole development programme at Santhera's base in Liestal, Switzerland.

Santhera's chief executive Dr Klaus Schollmeier, said: "This agreement with Juvantia is an excellent strategic fit for Santhera. Fipamezole targets a movement disorder where there is a high unmet medical need, given there is currently no treatment available on the market."

Keijo Vakiparta, chairman of Juvantia, commented: "This collaboration with Santhera represents an excellent opportunity for Juvantia to drive the further development of this important product. Santhera has commitment and extensive experience in devising and managing clinical trials, built on its deep understanding of the therapeutic field of neuromuscular disorders."


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