ViroMed Signs Co-Development Agreement with Reyon Pharmaceuticals to Develop VM202-ALS for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
On Jan. 6th biopharmaceutical development company ViroMed Co., Ltd. (CEO Kim Yong Soo) announced signing of co-development agreement with Reyon Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd. (CEO Yoo Sung-Rak) to develop VM202-ALS for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Through this agreement ViroMed will be funded for a large part of the development and will be able accelerate the commercialization of VM202-ALS. Reyon will also benefit from the share of the profit with the commercialization of VM202-ALS.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a neurodegenerative disease of unknown cause where the motor neurons necessary to move muscles in our body are destroyed, leading to paralyzation of all muscles such as tongue, neck, and arms and legs. The disease occurs mostly in adults and within 2-5 years of symptoms onset, most will die due to respiratory failure. Patients will reach a critical condition where they will have trouble just moving around and will have to rely on a respirator, but will retain their sense and consciousness. This led ALS to be called the “most cruel disease” and promoted researches to find the cause of the disease.
Currently there’s only one US FDA approved drug for ALS from Sanofi-Aventis called Rilutek ($60 million in sales in the US, 2012), which is a glutamate release inhibitor that inhibits the excessive secretion of glutamic acid, known to be one of the cause of motor neuron damage. But recently, there have been numerous efforts to develop a treatment using gene therapy and stem cells as a regenerative medicine to more effectively treat the disease. According to ALS Therapy Development Institute, if a safe and effective next generation treatment is released, it is expected to create $2-4 billion in sales.
On October 2013, ViroMed received an approval from the US FDA to conduct phase I/II clinical study of VM202-ALS. Patient enrollment will commence during the first quarter of this year at Northwestern Memorial Hospital with Dr. Kessler as the leading PI.