Adhera to Develop MLR-1019 for Easing Parkinson’s Symptoms

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by Forest Ray PhD |

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Adhera acquires license to develop MLR-1019 (armesocarb)

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Adhera Therapeutics will develop MLR-1019 (armesocarb), a treatment candidate for easing Parkinson’s disease symptoms, following a licensing agreement with Melior Pharmaceuticals II.

The therapy is the only one in development that’s designed to treat both Parkinson’s motor and non-motor symptoms simultaneously.

“MLR-1019 represents what could be a huge step forward in the field of Parkinson’s disease insomuch that we’re optimistic it can provide patients relief for both movement and non-movement symptoms,” Andrew Kucharchuk, Adhera’s CEO, said in a press release.

“We are thrilled to have the Melior group of companies as partners and collaborators on this project and look forward to evaluating MLR-1019 in a clinical setting with the goal of delivering a safe and effective option to patients and neurologists to better manage this debilitating disease,” Kucharchuk added.

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MLR-1019 is a mirror image molecule — called an enantiomer — of mesocarb (marketed as Sidnocarb and Sydnocarb). Mesocarb is an approved medication that extends the amount of time that dopamine is available in the body by blocking cells’ ability to reabsorb it.

Melior and Adhera expect MLR-1019 to be able to boost the efficacy of L-dopa — a common medication that the brain can convert to dopamine — better than amantadine, and without that therapy’s side effects. Of note, amantadine is an oral medication approved in the U.S. to treat dyskinesia, the involuntary, jerky movements experienced by Parkinson’s patients.

This compound was first approved in the Soviet Union in 1971 and marketed for various psychiatric and neurological conditions. Mesocarb’s Russian manufacturer discontinued its production during the recession in 2008 for reasons unrelated to the compound itself.

MLR-1019 was patented in the United States in 2015.

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Adhera hopes to leverage mesocarb’s proven safety profile and chemical similarity to MLR-1019 into being able to move directly into a Phase 2a clinical trial in Parkinson’s. To the best of both Adhera’s and Melior’s knowledge, MLR-1019 is the only therapy currently being developed that has the capability to address, at the same time, both Parkinson’s motor and non-motor symptoms.

If successful, MLR-1019 “represents a significant opportunity to address a large gap in therapeutics” for Parkinson’s, the companies said.

Under the terms of the agreement, Adhera acquires exclusive global rights to intellectual property related to MLR-1019, as well as information on how to develop it. In exchange, Melior will receive payments based on the therapy successfully achieving specific clinical trial and regulatory approval milestones. Melior also will receive royalties on future gross product sales in the event that the medication is commercialized.

“We are delighted the Agreement and to be working with the Adhera team, as we have a shared vision towards armesocarb as an innovative new therapy to address multiple aspects of Parkinson’s disease,” said Andrew Reaume, CEO of Melior.

“Our full set of global resources are now at the disposal of Adhera,” he said, adding, “we look forward to deepening our relationship based upon the success of our work in [Parkinson’s].”

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