Drug candidate for apathy enters Phase I trials


Swedish company IRLAB Therapeutics has initiated a Phase I study of IRL757, its drug candidate for apathy – a condition associated with Parkinson’s disease and other CNS diseases.

IRL757 has shown positive effects in several preclinical models of cognitive function, including improved motivation.

This effect is believed to be associated with the drug candidate’s unique ability to counteract disturbances in nerve signalling that are believed to cause apathy in several neurological diseases.

“We are very pleased to be able to start the clinical programme with our drug candidate IRL757 so soon after the Medical Products Agency’s approval. Our recently established development collaboration with MSRD/Otsuka and the extensive research support we receive from The Michael J Fox Foundation are clear evidence that world-leading external assessors share our confidence in the potential of IRL757 to treat apathy, a condition affecting millions of people living with neurodegenerative diseases,” said Dr Joakim Tedroff, Chief Medical Officer, IRLAB.

The Michael J Fox Foundation (MJFF) has awarded a grant of more than SEK 20 million ($2 million) to conduct this first Phase I clinical trial of IRL757.

IRLAB has also recently announced a collaboration with McQuade Center for Strategic Research and Development (MSRD), part of Otsuka, to develop IRL757 further.

IRLAB retains full ownership and all patent rights to IRL757 during the collaboration period, and is also entitled to an upfront payment of $3 million as well as potential milestone payments totalling $5.5 million.

Apathy is characterised by indifference, resignation and a lack of response to what is happening in the world around them. The condition affects a large proportion of people living with Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and other diseases related to the central nervous system. Currently, there are no drugs on the market to treat apathy.

Diana Spencer, Senior Digital Content Editor, DDW

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