New York, N.Y., August 12, 2014 -- Lauren Sciences LLC, the private New York biotechnology company developing transformative V-Smart™ therapeutics, with its innovative V-Smart™ targeted drug delivery system, based upon its novel V-Smart™ nanovesicle platform technology, announced the award of a grant today from The ALS Association to its research team at Ben-Gurion University. The ALS Association grant will support development of a V-Smart™ therapeutic for ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
The initial goal of The ALS Association project is to develop the V-Smart™ nanovesicles for the delivery across the blood brain barrier (BBB) of a neurotrophic factor with therapeutic potential for treatment of ALS. The developed V-Smart™ vesicles will be targeted to brain regions where motor neurons degenerate in ALS. Subsequent parts of the project will include efficacy studies in ALS animal models. Preclinical studies show that the neurotrophic factor provides beneficial effects in ALS, and V-Smart™ will solve the problem that neurotrophic factors do not cross the BBB.
"On behalf of our research team at Ben-Gurion University, we thank The ALS Association for this award," said Susan Rosenbaum, J.D., Chairman and CEO of Lauren Sciences. "The award provides recognition of V-Smart™'s success to date, and its potential to treat ALS with an effective therapeutic that overcomes the challenge of passage across the BBB. We are also grateful for the support of our advisor in ALS, Robert H. Brown, M.D., Ph.D., Chairman of Neurology at U. Mass. Medical School."
"The ALS Association is dedicated to finding a treatment or cure for ALS," said Lucie Bruijn, Ph.D., M.B.A., Chief Scientist of ALSA. "Trophic factors and other neuroprotective and regenerative agents, that do not get into the brain by existing oral or i.v. delivery, have shown potential to protect motor neurons during the course of ALS. V-Smart™ has shown ability to deliver therapeutic agents across the BBB following systemic administration."
"A V-Smart™ therapeutic with neurotrophic factor, targeted to deteriorating motor neurons, has promise for the treatment of ALS," said Irwin Hollander, Ph.D., VP of R&D at Lauren Sciences. "The ALS Association project could lead to clinical studies in ALS patients."
"Our pre-clinical studies demonstrated that V-Smart™ can encapsulate neurotrophins and transport them across the BBB to specific target sites within the central nervous system (CNS). This has been shown for GDNF in Parkinson's disease animal model where the delivered neurotrophin provided beneficial effects," said Eliahu Heldman, Ph.D., CSO of Lauren Sciences. "Our goal now is to target neurotrophins to areas within the CNS where motor neurons degenerate in the course of ALS. This V-Smart™ therapeutic could ultimately improve ALS patients' lives."
This award has been made possible through the generous support of The Greater Philadelphia Chapter of The ALS Association.
About V-Smart™ Therapeutics
Lauren Sciences is developing transformative V-Smart™ therapeutics, with its innovative V-Smart™ targeted drug delivery system, based on its novel V-Smart™ nanovesicle platform technology. V-Smart™ can: encapsulate drugs (including small molecules, peptides, proteins and nucleic acids) and, following systemic administration, cross the BBB (and other membranes), target the encapsulated agents to sites in the CNS (and elsewhere) and, then, release the encapsulated content at target sites.
About Lauren Sciences LLC
Lauren Sciences is developing a robust pipeline of transformative V-Smart™ therapeutics for CNS diseases, such as Parkinson's disease, neuro-HIV, ALS and more. Lauren Sciences has been awarded grants for the development of V-Smart™ therapeutics from foundations such as The Michael J. Fox Foundation, The Campbell Foundation and The ALS Association. Lauren Sciences has contracts with pharmas and collaborations with key opinion leaders, invitations to present V-Smart™ research at scientific conferences, features in industry research reports, world-wide patent portfolio and extensive publications on V-Smart™ in peer-reviewed scientific journals. The company's CSO, Dr. Eliahu Heldman, is Professor Emeritus at Ben-Gurion University, Israel where he, with Dr. Sarina Grinberg and Dr. Charles Linder, developed the V-Smart™ technology and lead the Lauren Sciences research team.
ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects motor neurons (nerve cells) in the brain and the spinal cord. Eventually, people with ALS lose the ability to initiate and control muscle movement, which often leads to total paralysis and death within two to five years of diagnosis. There is no cure and limited life-prolonging treatments for the disease. Based on U.S. population studies, a little over 5,600 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with ALS each year. It is estimated that as many as 30,000 Americans have the disease at any given time.
About The ALS Association (ALSA)
Established in 1985, The ALS Association is the only national non-profit organization fighting Lou Gehrig's Disease on every front. By leading the way in global research, providing assistance for people with ALS through a nationwide network of chapters, coordinating multidisciplinary care through certified clinical care centers, and fostering government partnerships, The Association builds hope and enhances quality of life while aggressively searching for new treatments and a cure. For more information about The ALS Association, visit the website at http://www.