Swedish innovation agency Vinnova has awarded $166,252 (1.5 million kroner) to NeuroVive Pharmaceuticals for the preclinical development and large-scale manufacture of its therapeutic candidate NV354 for mitochondrial diseases.
The funds are the first part of a total of $554,173 (5 million kroner) that Vinnova is providing under the Swedish government’s innovation program, Swelife, which supports collaborations between the medical system, universities, and industry that could benefit public health.
“We are naturally incredibly pleased to receive this funding from Vinnova. It underscores the potential that NV354 has to make a difference for mitochondrial disorders,” Erik Kinnman, CEO of NeuroVive, said in a press release.
NeuroVive received this funding by submitting a research proposal to Vinnova’s Swelife call for applications for 2018. This call was a continuation of its funding round in 2017 in which NeuroVive received $110,834 (1 million kroner) for its NP015 program that led to the discovery of NV354.
Mitochondria provide energy to cells. Mitochondrial diseases significantly disrupt the body’s ability to convert food to energy. One of the most common causes of the mitochondrial disease is complex 1 dysfunction. Complex 1 is the first step for energy synthesis. In this type of dysfunction, the mitochondria’s energy production process fails, causing rapid energy drain in the cells.
Researchers showed that, in an animal mitochondrial dysfunction model, NV354 was able to restore energy production in cells by efficiently delivering succinate, the prime substrate for energy production. In a Leigh syndrome model, NV354 was also efficiently delivered to the brain.
These promising preclinical results for NV354 and data from an experimental model of mitochondrial disorders were instrumental in NeuroVive securing this continual funding. Independent research conducted by NeuroVive’s academic partners such as Children’s Hospital Of Philadelphia (CHOP) have also helped obtain additional crucial information about the therapeutic efficacy of NV354.
“The goal of the NV354 development program is to markedly improve life for those patients, normally children, suffering from these types of mitochondrial disorders. This funding is of the greatest importance for effectively advancing the project and represents a mark of quality for our program,” said Eskil Elmér, MD, PhD, chief scientific officer and vice president of discovery at NeuroVive.
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