Biotechnology company Immunity Pharma, which is developing a drug for treatment of Lou Gehrig's Disease (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis - ALS), has announced the beginning of its first clinical trial, which will take place at Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center. The drug has already been tried on one compassionate use patient and Immunity Pharma said it had halted the disease's progression for two years.
ALS is a degenerative muscle disease that attacks mid-life patients fairly randomly and causes their rapid deterioration. Patients usually go from full functioning to complete paralysis and death in 2-5 years.
Immunity Pharma was founded on the basis of research by Prof. Yaron Cohen, known as the researcher behind a number of drugs on which Israeli biotechnology companies were founded. The most famous of these was Andromeda, which developed a drug for juvenile diabetes that eventually failed to prove its effectiveness and did not reach the market. Cohen's research, however, is highly valued by immune system experts, specifically ALS experts. The company believes that ALS is caused by inflammation of nerve cells. Immunity Pharma's drug utilizes a number of mechanisms related to the inflammation's development.
CEO Eran Ovadia founded Immunity Pharma in 2007. He says, "The drug activates intracellular healing processes common to a number of degenerative diseases of a similar biological background for which there is no adequate treatment at present. We aim to also treat these other diseases."
Immunity Pharma has raised $5 million to date, mostly in the past four years, including a financing round just now being completed. The company's private investors include a group of early investors in Mobileye, fund managers, and medical industry specialists.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on August 6, 2018
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