Towards Development of New Arthritis Drugs

October 19, 2007 by  
Filed under ARTHRITIS

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Modern Biosciences plc has signed an exclusive worldwide license agreement with the University of Aberdeen in order to further develop new treatments for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and to put into trials the new RA drugs that Aberdeen has discovered but haven’t been tested yet.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a debilitating disease that causes inflammation of the joints which affects some 1% of the worldwide population (or approximately 165 million people.

The drugs – which were initially discovered and developed by scientists at the University of Aberdeen – have still to be tested on patients although clinical trials are now expected to start within two years.

The researchers who developed the drugs have found that they work in a novel way to suppress the inflammatory process that is responsible for the development of bone and joint damage in patients with arthritis.

The researchers believe that the new drugs could provide an important alternative to anti-TNF therapy which is the most effective treatment currently available for rheumatoid arthritis, but is expensive and not available to all.

Initial tests have shown that one advantage of the new drugs over existing anti-TNF therapy is that they can be taken in tablet form, rather than by injection.

Osteoporosis is a common complication of arthritis (osteoarthritis) and the researchers mentioned above were able to discovering drugs that not only can reduce joint inflammation and joint damage, but can also prevent osteoporosis.

According to Professor Stuart Ralston, Professor of Rheumatology at the University of Edinburgh:

“The identification of these compounds represents an exciting step forward in the fight against arthritis. Our research so far has shown that the drugs work in a unique way and appear to offer potential advantages over existing treatments.

We are delighted to be in partnership with Modern Biosciences to further develop this discovery and we very much hope that we will be in a position to start clinical trials with the new drugs in patients with arthritis over the next two years.”

In the said signed agreement, Modern Biosciences will fund and manage the development programme, while revenues generated through marketing/sales of any resulting products will be shared by the two parties.

Find more details from this agreement from the University of Aberdeen.

[In a separate post, I will enumerate and discuss the current arthritis treatments available.]

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