InFlectis BioScience has been granted exclusive patent rights from the University of Chicago to use a family of small molecules for the treatment of demyelinating diseases. The license covers the use of InFlectis BioSciences’ lead compounds, IFB-088 and IFB-048, for the treatment of CMT and MS, two highly prevalent demyelinating diseases. IFB-088 is entering Phase 2 clinical trials for the treatment of ALS and CMT and has shown encouraging preclinical results for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS). These small molecules, known as ISR (Integrated Stress Response) modulators, are oral compounds that selectively prolong the body’s natural protective effect against cellular stress as a way to potentially delay or halt disease progression.
Initial research that led to this patented invention showed that a specific family of molecules appears to selectively modulate the ISR and protect oligodendrocytes, axons and myelin. This correlates to reduced CNS inflammation in a way that, importantly, does not affect the peripheral immune response. However, further molecular optimization was required to generate a compound that would be safe and tolerable in patients.
To address this, InFlectis BioScience developed molecular derivatives covered by the aforementioned patent, which have been shown to be safe and tolerable in preclinical models while retaining efficacy. InFlectis BioScience completed a phase 1 clinical trial for IFB-088 in human healthy volunteers, which further demonstrated the safety and tolerability in humans.
“Our agreement with the University of Chicago builds upon our global IP estate related to our family of ISR modulators,” said Pierre Miniou, Ph.D., Founder and Chief Operating Officer of InFlectis BioScience. “Consequently, we strengthened our ability to attract the necessary financial resources and partnerships to advance our compounds through clinical development and increase the likelihood of providing new treatment options for patients.”
The licensing agreement grants InFlectis BioScience exclusive rights to U.S. Patent No. 10,905,663 in exchange for equity, an upfront payment, milestone payments, and royalties on net sales. The patent was issued to the University of Chicago in February 2021 through the work performed by a team led by Brian Popko, Ph.D., a former University of Chicago researcher and currently Scientific Director, Division of Multiple Sclerosis and Neuroimmunology, William Frederick Windle Professor of Neurology, Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine.
“The preclinical data that we have generated using MS mouse models has demonstrated the exciting potential of enhancing the ISR as a therapeutic strategy for MS,” explained Brian Popko, PhD. “Our studies suggest that small molecules like IFB-088 that enhance the ISR should provide protection to oligodendrocytes against the harsh environment created by the CNS inflammation that occurs in MS patients. This protection will shield myelin and axons from degeneration and permit remyelination to occur more efficiently.”
“During his time at the University of Chicago, Dr. Popko discovered that the patented family of molecules could be useful for the treatment of demyelinating disorders,” said Thelma Tennant, Ph.D., Director, Business Development and Licensing, the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. “We are delighted that this work will be brought to patients through our partnership with InFlectis BioScience, who will be advancing their compounds to treat individuals with neuromuscular diseases.”
InFlectis BioScience is a France-based clinical stage company developing first-in-class therapies for neuromuscular diseases. The company is in clinical development with an orally available small molecule named IFB-088/sephin1, that has the potential to extend lives or improve the quality-of-life for people suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT), a rare and progressive hereditary nerve condition. InFlectis BioSciences’ therapies are designed to boost a cellular command center – called the Integrated Stress Response – that ensures healthy levels of proteins and protein structures. Excessive and prolonged cellular stress can overwhelm this command center, resulting in the loss of functional cells and onset or progression of neuromuscular diseases. The Company’s compounds are designed to keep this command center operating and to prevent downstream effects that lead to disease.
The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago
The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation is the central resource for transforming groundbreaking ideas and discoveries into new products, services, and ventures at the University of Chicago. A dedicated team of professionals with deep technical expertise exclusively focused on enabling technology commercialization perform market analysis, manage intellectual property, identify partners, and negotiate partnerships and licenses for University faculty, researchers, and staff. Learn more at polsky.uchicago.edu and follow on Twitter @polskycenter.
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