VANCOUVER, November 30, 2013 — ImStar Therapeutics, a private biotechnology company developing a new approach to treat patients with ALS, has selected IMS-088 as its lead drug candidate for the treatment of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). The company is preparing to initiate IND-enabling studies in the second half of 2014.
IMS-088 is a novel, small-molecule drug that stems from the discovery of a new target for ALS by ImStar co-founder Dr Jean-Pierre Julien termed TANA (i.e. TDP-43 Associated NF-kB Activation). IMS-088 is the first in a series of novel drugs derived from withaferin A, a natural compound isolated from the leaves of the winter cherry plant (Withania somnifera) that inhibits activation of a key inflammation pathway. In preclinical ALS disease models, withaferin A produced substantial improvements in function and extended survival, but lacked optimal characteristics to be developed as a drug. IMS-088 was designed by ImStar chemists to have superior drug-like properties and has been shown to be potent and safe in preclinical studies.
In conjunction with the selection of a lead compound, ImStar has filed a patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office covering novel withanolide therapeutics.
“We are very excited to announce the selection of IMS-088 as ImStar’s lead ALS compound. As we continue with preclinical development next year, we hope to establish IMS-088 as a safe and effective new drug candidate for ALS,” said Jean-Pierre Julien, ImStar’s chief scientific officer. “This is an important milestone for ImStar,” said Daniel Wattier, CEO of ImStar, “It reflects our commitment to transforming this important discovery into a practical treatment for patients.”
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as “Lou Gehrig’s disease”, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that inhibits an individual’s ability to control voluntary muscle movement. ALS leads to paralysis and death in most cases.
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