Research

New drug could treat dyskinesia in Parkinson’s disease

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Early trial results give hope for a new potential dyskinesia treatment for people with Parkinson’s disease.

A new clinical trial, carried out by Neurolixis and made possible by co-funding from the Parkinson’s Virtual Biotech and The Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF), shows that the drug NLX-112 is safe and effective in reducing dyskinesia in patients with Parkinson’s disease.

Over the last five years, the Parkinson’s Virtual Biotech has provided US based biotech company, Neurolixis, with a total of £1.57 million in funding to support the progress of NLX-112 through preclinical research and clinical trials. 

Neurolixis has been researching the effect of the drug NLX-112 on dyskinesia, a common side effect experienced by people with Parkinson’s who have been taking levodopa-based medications for several years. 

It causes involuntary movements that can affect various parts of the body, making everyday tasks impossible. The main medication available to manage dyskinesia is amantadine, which can have side effects and does not work for everyone.

NLX-112 works by targeting serotonin cells inside the brain which are believed to contribute to the development of dyskinesia, by releasing dopamine in an erratic manner. It aims to reduce dyskinesia by decreasing the amount of dopamine the cells release.

This latest phase 2a study firstly looked at how safe and well tolerated NLX-112 was in people with Parkinson’s and also how well NLX-112 improved their dyskinesia symptoms. Of the 22 participants with levodopa-induced dyskinesia who completed the treatment process, 15 participants received NLX-112 and seven participants received a placebo.

Participants either received NLX-112 or placebo in increasing doses during the initial four weeks, to minimise the potential side effects. After two weeks at the maximum dose, they decreased the dosage over two weeks.

The results achieved the first objective to suggest that NLX-112 was safe and well tolerated in people with Parkinson’s. 

The second aim of the study was to show that NLX- 112 was effective in treating dyskinesia. The results suggest participants who received NLX-112 showed significant reduction in their scores for dyskinesia, whereas those who received the placebo did not show significant reduction in their scores.

The side effects of participants who received NLX-112 were mild, confirming previous observations on the compound. Full analysis of efficacy measures is underway and will be disclosed in further announcements.

Professor Per Svenningsson, principal clinical investigator, said: “We are excited about the positive results of this proof-of-concept study. The findings indicate that NLX-112 can be safely administered to people with PD [Parkinson’s disease] and alleviates their troublesome LID. If these findings are confirmed in larger clinical trials, NLX-112 could become a promising new treatment option for this indication.”

The Parkinson’s Virtual Biotech, led by charity Parkinson’s UK in partnership with the Parkinson’s Foundation, fast-tracks the projects with the greatest scientific potential to transform the lives of people with Parkinson’s, focusing on treatments that will meet the most pressing needs identified by the Parkinson’s community.

Dr Arthur Roach, Director of Research at Parkinson’s UK, said: “We’re incredibly proud and excited by these early results from Neurolixis. They were one of the first companies that the Parkinson’s Virtual Biotech invested in, in partnership with The Michael J Fox Foundation, so to see it making positive progress just reiterates why this brave and innovative approach is right for the Parkinson’s community. It really is bringing us closer to new treatments that address the symptoms that the Parkinson’s community have told us are the most urgent and LID is one of those.

“The Parkinson’s Virtual Biotech is a global partnership between Parkinson’s UK, the largest charitable funder of Parkinson’s research in Europe, and the Parkinson’s Foundation, but it is entirely driven by the Parkinson’s community. Further studies will be necessary for regulatory approval and routine clinical use of NLX-112. But now people with Parkinson’s can have hope that a much needed new treatment for LID may be coming to them soon, and know that their support of the Parkinson’s Virtual Biotech has made this possible.”

Dr. Adrian Newman-Tancredi, CEO of Neurolixis, added: “PD is the fastest growing neurodegenerative disease and these results suggest that NLX-112 could help mitigate the medical and societal burden caused by this disease. We are grateful to the Parkinson’s Virtual Biotech and the Michael J Fox Foundation for financially supporting investigation of NLX-112 from preclinical studies through to this clinical trial, and their recognised expertise in the PD field provides a strong validation for the program. These positive findings further support the development of NLX-112 as a potential treatment for LID and other movement disorders with large market potential.”

 

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