Guildford, UK, 24 January 2007: ReNeuron Group plc (LSE: RENE) today announces that it has been awarded a grant from the US-based Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) to develop its ReN004 stem cell therapy for Parkinson’s disease. The award was made under MJFF’s Therapeutics Development Initiative, designed to catalyse and expand industry investment in pre-clinical Parkinson’s drug development.
ReNeuron has previously presented data showing that its ReN004 candidate stem cell lines have the potential to reverse the neurological deficits in pre-clinical models of Parkinson’s disease. The data indicated good in vivo survival of the cell lines and expression of the appropriate markers for dopaminergic neurons, the cell type deficient in Parkinson’s patients. The MJFF grant will allow ReNeuron to build on this pre-clinical data and also develop a biodegradable delivery matrix which the Company believes will be required to successfully implant the required cell type into Parkinson’s patients. The grant will fund the ReN004 programme over the next year, accelerating its progress towards the clinic.
In addition to its Parkinson’s disease programme, ReNeuron has recently filed for approval to commence initial clinical studies in the US with its lead ReN001 stem cell therapy for stroke. The Company is also developing stem cell therapies for Huntington’s disease, Type 1 diabetes and diseases of the retina.
Michael Hunt, Chief Executive Officer of ReNeuron, said:
“We are delighted to have secured this important first grant for our ReN004 therapy from such a pre-eminent and high-profile US grant-awarding body supporting research into Parkinson’s disease. Significantly, we regard this award as an important independent validation of the therapeutic approach we are adopting in seeking to address this debilitating disease. Our ReN004 Parkinson’s disease programme applies ReNeuron’s platform c-mycERTAM cell expansion technology to a further significant area of unmet medical need.”
Notes to editors
About Parkinson’s disease
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disease of the basal ganglia region of the brain, with tremor, rigidity and difficulty initiating movement being the most common symptoms. The condition is associated with a deficiency of the chemical dopamine in the brain. It is estimated that four million people worldwide have Parkinson’s disease and there is currently no effective cure.
The worldwide market for Parkinson’s disease treatments is currently worth approximately US$2.5 billion, and is dominated by drugs that manage the symptoms of the disease, primarily by raising the level of dopamine in the brain. These drugs do not stop the progression of the disease, however, and are poorly tolerated in many patients.
About Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research
The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research is a US-based organisation dedicated to ensuring the development of a cure for Parkinson’s disease within this decade through an aggressively funded research agenda. The Foundation has funded over $90 million in research to date, either directly or through partnerships. The Foundation’s Therapeutics Development Initiative has provided US$4.6 million in funding to drive industry programmes focused on translational research into Parkinson’s disease.
Further information about MJFF can be found at www.michaeljfox.org
ReNeuron is a leading, UK-based adult stem cell therapy business. It is applying its novel stem cell platform technologies in the development of ground-breaking stem cell therapies to serve significant and unmet or poorly-met clinical needs.
ReNeuron has used its c-mycERTAM technology to generate genetically stable neural stem cell lines. This technology platform has multi-national patent protection and is fully regulated by means of a chemically-induced safety switch. Cell growth can therefore be completely arrested prior to in vivo implantation.
ReNeuron has filed for approval to commence initial clinical studies in the US with its lead ReN001 stem cell therapy for chronic stroke disability. This represents the world’s first such filing concerning a neural stem cell treatment for a major neurological disorder. ReNeuron has also generated pre-clinical efficacy data with its ReN005 stem cell therapy for Huntington’s disease, a genetic and fatal neurodegenerative disorder that affects around 1 in 10,000 people. This programme is in pre-clinical development. In addition to its stroke and Huntington’s disease programmes, ReNeuron is developing stem cell therapies for Parkinson’s disease, Type 1 diabetes and diseases of the retina.
ReNeuron has also leveraged its stem cell technologies into non-therapeutic areas � its ReNcellTMrange of cell lines for use in research and in drug discovery applications in the pharmaceutical industry. ReNeuron’s ReNcellTM CX and ReNcellTM VM neural cell lines are marketed worldwide under license by Millipore Corporation.
ReNeuron’s shares are traded on the London AIM market under the symbol RENE.L.
Further information on ReNeuron and its products can be found at www.reneuron.com.
Data sources: MJFF; UK Parkinson’s Disease Society; UK Stroke Association; American Stroke Association.
Michael Hunt, Chief Executive Officer
Dr John Sinden, Chief Scientific Officer
Tel: 44 (0)1483 302 560
Tel: 44 (0)20 7831 3113
The terms �ReNeuron’, �the Company’ or �the Group’ used in this statement refer to ReNeuron Group plc and/or its subsidiary undertakings, depending on the context.