Domain Therapeutics and Medicxi launch Mavalon Therapeutics, aimed at halting the progression of Parkinson’s disease
Medicxi will invest up to €9m ($10m) in the asset-centric company to show clinical efficacy of Mavalon’s GDNF-inducer drug candidate, an mGluR3 PAM molecule discovered by Domain Therapeutics
Strasbourg, France, October 18, 2016 – Domain Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company that specializes in the discovery and development of G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) drugs, today announces the creation of Mavalon Therapeutics, a company focused on stopping the progression of Parkinson’s disease. Medicxi, a venture fund dedicated to financing asset-centric companies, has committed up to €9m ($10m) in Mavalon.
Over the past two decades, biotech companies and clinicians have tried to develop a cure for Parkinson’s disease based on Glial cell line-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (GDNF), a naturally occurring factor promoting the growth of dopamine neurons. Some clinical results were stunning, with patients experiencing a spectacular improvement in their symptoms and a return to ‘normal’ life1 However, delivery of GDNF has been a major challenge. As it cannot be absorbed orally, a variety of delivery methods have been tested including direct pumping into the brain, intranasal delivery and gene therapy. Newly formed Mavalon Therapeutics is developing the first orally available small molecule able to induce GDNF production within the brain of Parkinson’s patients, a treatment that will bring benefits to a larger population than the current intra-brain delivery of GDNF.
The drug candidate, a positive allosteric modulator of the metabotropic glutamate receptor type 3 (mGluR3 PAM), was discovered and initially developed by Domain Therapeutics with the support of the Michael J. Fox Foundation. This program is the third Parkinson’s disease drug candidate discovered by Domain Therapeutics and further developed by an asset-centric company. An mGluR4 PAM is ready to enter Phase II at Prexton Therapeutics and a dual adenosine A2A/A1 receptor antagonist is in preclinical development at Kaldi Pharma. Both treatments address Parkinson’s symptoms while Mavalon’s drug is aimed at stopping the progression of the disease and at reversing its effects.
“Mavalon’s asset clearly fits with Medicxi’s investment strategy supporting biopharma companies at the forefront of innovation,” said Michèle Ollier, partner at Medicxi Ventures. “The mGluR3 PAM-mediated GDNF induction certainly represents a very promising approach with strong market potential.”
“We are very proud to have Medicxi as investor partner in Mavalon. This investment highlights Domain Therapeutics’ expertise in the GPCR area and its ability to repeatedly select first-in-class drug candidates for major therapeutic indications,” said Pascal Neuville, CEO of Domain Therapeutics. “We are confident in the capacity of the Mavalon team to rapidly move this asset forward towards the clinical stage and make this promising treatment available to the Parkinson’s disease patient population.”