FRAXA co-founders Katie Clapp and Mike Tranfaglia, spoke virtually at the 5th Pharma Pricing Reimbursement and Market Access 2021 conference.
In this session, facilitated by Nadia Bodkin, PharmD, MS, from the Rare Advocacy Movement, Katie and Mike were joined by Christopher U. Missling, PhD, President and CEO of Anavex Life Sciences Corp. to discuss the collaboration between FRAXA and Anavex as a case study example to help raise awareness amongst others in the rare disease industry of these types of collaborations between advocacy and industry.
Dr. Mark Gurney, CEO of Tetra Therapeutics, discusses how one of the earliest clues to the biology of Fragile X led to the most successful Fragile X clinical trial to date. FRAXA and Tetra began working together after a key FRAXA-funded study caught the attention of Dr. Gurney. Through the FRAXA Drug Validation Initiative, Dr. Patricia Cogram was able to conduct preclinical validation experiments with Tetra’s lead compound in record time, paving the way for clinical trials.
We are excited to share that Anavex Life Sciences announced today that preclinical data of the ANAVEX®2-73 (blarcamesine) study in Fragile X syndrome were published in the peer-reviewed journal, Scientific Reports.
One of the most exciting kinds of work that FRAXA does is following the journey of an experimental new treatment until it is ready for trials in people with Fragile X. From an initial idea, through the development process, to clinical trials, FRAXA helps out all along the way. From an initial idea, through the development process, to clinical trials, FRAXA helps out all along the way. The recent announcement by Synaptogenix is a great example of how FRAXA funding and use of FRAXA-DVI can accelerate research on Fragile X.
The FRAXA Drug Validation Initiative (FRAXA-DVI) provides speedy, cost-effective, objective preclinical testing of potential Fragile X treatments. FRAXA-DVI uses in-vitro systems, behavior batteries, and gene expression and peripheral biomarker platforms to validate investigational new drugs and repurposed available compounds in Fragile X syndrome (FXS).
Today, Tetra Therapeutics published the full results of its PDE4D trial published the full results to their announcement. Now having reviewed the full results, FRAXA can confidently say that the PDE4D drug trial gives hope to patients and families that Fragile X Syndrome is a treatable disorder, and this particular drug can improve intellectual disability.
New Zealand-Based Biotech Neuren Pharmaceuticals Has Published Successful Phase 2 Fragile X Clinical Trial. Trofinetide, given to adolescent and adult males with Fragile X syndrome, was shown to be generally safe and was well-tolerated. It also showed preliminary evidence of efficacy. This trial validated a new design which can be used in future trials.
Healx has secured $56M in new financing to build a clinical-stage portfolio for rare diseases, including treatments for Fragile X syndrome, and to launch a global Rare Treatment Accelerator program. Where the traditional drug discovery model takes more than a decade and can run into the billions of dollars, Healx’s AI-driven approach makes the process faster, more efficient and cost-effective.
FRAXA Research Foundation has funded a clinical trial of an investigational new drug, led by Dr. Elizabeth Berry-Kravis at the Rush Fragile X Clinic in Chicago. This trial will treat 30 adult males with Fragile X syndrome with a PDE4D allosteric inhibitor from Tetra Discovery Partners using in a crossover design, so that everyone gets active drug for part of the time and placebo for part of the time.
Tetra Discovery Partners has signed a multi-part deal that could bring it up to $160 million, plus royalties, from Shionogi & Co, Ltd, a Japanese major research-driven pharmaceutical company. Tetra currently is conducting an investigational Phase 2 study of BPN14770 in adults with Fragile X Syndrome, an indication for which BPN14770 has received Orphan Drug Designation from the US Food and Drug Administration. This clinical trial was made possible by early work with the FRAXA-DVI and over $200,000 from FRAXA.
With this $20,000 award from FRAXA Research Foundation, Dr. Vanderklish and collaborators at Scripps Research Institute, the University of Chile, and the FLENI Institute in Argentina are analyzing patterns in gene expression in blood cells of patients with Fragile X syndrome. They are using “transcriptomics” which can produce a time-sensitive signature of an individual person. This is the first time that all these different levels of study – from transcriptomics to behavior – have been done for individual patients with Fragile X.
Most people know that FRAXA supports academic research at many institutions such as Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Yale University. However, FRAXA is also working with more than 30 pharmaceutical companies around the world. Mike spends a lot of his time advising and collaborating with industry partners.
FRAXA Research Foundation initially partnered with Healx in 2016 to identify existing drugs with potential to treat Fragile X syndrome, using machine learning algorithms and computational biology. The study produced results, and now FRAXA and Healx have launched a new round of studies to evaluate combinations of compounds, including both drugs and natural products.
While there are over 8,000 rare diseases affecting an estimated 350 million people worldwide, only around 200 of these conditions have effective treatments. Due to the high cost of developing new drugs, rare diseases have historically been less attractive to pharmaceutical companies. Drug repurposing systematically leverages the detailed information available on approved drugs and reduces the time and money needed to deliver safe “new” treatments, but with greater success rates and a potentially more immediate impact on health care.
FRAXA Research Foundation was founded in 1994 to fund biomedical research aimed at finding a cure for Fragile X syndrome and, ultimately, autism. We prioritize translational research with the potential to lead to improved treatments for Fragile X in the near term. Our early efforts involved supporting a great deal of basic neuroscience to understand the cause of Fragile X. By 1996, these efforts had already begun to yield results useful for drug repurposing. To date, FRAXA has funded well over $25 million in research, with over $3 million of that for repurposing existing drugs for Fragile X.
Bio·mark·er, noun, a distinctive biological or biologically derived indicator of a process, event, or condition. Doesn’t help? Well, it’s perfectly clear to Argentinian researchers Patricia Cogram, PhD, and Paulina Carullo, MD, from the FLENI Institute in Buenos Aires, Argentina. They understand there is an urgent need for validated biomarkers after recent Fragile X syndrome clinical trials have failed on their primary endpoints.
A bizarre marine critter found off the California coast — Bugula neritina— is the only known source of a potential new Fragile X treatment, Bryostatin. Last month, FRAXA sat down with scientists from Neurotrope BioScience, a specialty biopharmaceutical company developing medicines for rare diseases and Alzheimer’s based on Bryostatin. Their Fragile X program is based on research by a West Virginia team led by Daniel Alkon, MD, which showed that Bryostatin-1 restores hippocampal synapses and spatial learning and memory in adult Fragile X mice.