VANCOUVER, British Columbia & QUEBEC CITY--(BUSINESS WIRE)--ImStar Therapeutics today announced the selection of IMS-088 as its lead drug candidate for the treatment of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). The company is preparing to initiate IND-enabling studies in the second half of 2014.
IMS-088 is a novel, small-molecule drug that stems from the discovery of a new target for ALS by ImStar co-founder Dr. Jean-Pierre Julien termed TANA (i.e. TDP-43 Associated NF-κB Activation). IMS-088 is the first in a series of novel drugs derived from withaferin A, a natural compound isolated from the leaves of the winter cherry plant (Withania somnifera) that inhibits activation of a key inflammation pathway. In preclinical ALS disease models, withaferin A produced substantial improvements in function and extended survival, but lacked optimal characteristics to be developed as a drug. IMS-088 was designed by ImStar chemists to have superior drug-like properties and has been shown to be potent and safe in preclinical studies.
In conjunction with the selection of a lead compound, ImStar has filed a patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office covering novel withanolide therapeutics.
"We are very excited to announce the selection of IMS-088 as ImStar's lead ALS compound. As we continue with preclinical development next year, we hope to establish IMS-088 as a safe and effective new drug candidate for ALS," said Jean-Pierre Julien, ImStar's Chief Scientific Officer. "This is an important milestone for ImStar," said Daniel Wattier, CEO of ImStar, "It reflects our commitment to transforming this important discovery into a practical treatment for patients."
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as "Lou Gehrig's disease", is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that inhibits an individual's ability to control voluntary muscle movement. ALS leads to paralysis and death in most cases. There are approximately 30,000 individuals suffering from ALS in the United States and 3,000 in Canada.
About ImStar Therapeutics
ImStar Therapeutics is a private biotechnology company based in Vancouver and Quebec City developing a new approach to treat patients with ALS. The company is studying compounds directed at a proprietary new therapeutic target for ALS called TANA. ImStar’s lead drug candidate is IMS-088, a novel, small-molecule compound currently in preclinical development.
Visit www.imstartx.com for more information.