A Proof-of-Concept Study Towards Novel ALS Therapy

by Andrii Buvailo, PhD          News

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Topics: Novel Therapeutics   
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Verge Genomics, a clinical-stage biotechnology company, has just initiated a Phase 1b proof-of-concept study for VRG50635, a drug developed for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The study aims to evaluate the safety and tolerability of escalating doses of VRG50635, a small molecule inhibitor of PIKfyve, a therapeutic target discovered in diseased human tissues, using the company's AI-powered platform, CONVERGE®, which includes a comprehensive database of multi-omic patient data.

ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects motor neuron cells in the brain and spinal cord, leading to paralysis of voluntary muscles. This disease typically affects individuals between 40 and 70 years of age, and an estimated 100,000 people worldwide may have ALS at any given time. The disease is fatal, and current treatments only offer modest benefits to the majority of patients, who often succumb within 2 to 5 years after diagnosis.

VRG50635 is notable for being one of the first drugs to enter clinical trials that was entirely discovered and developed using an AI-enabled platform. This represents a significant advancement in the field of drug discovery, leveraging artificial intelligence and human data to streamline the development of potential treatments for complex diseases.

Innovative Clinical Trial Design

The proof-of-concept study for VRG50635 is distinct from traditional ALS clinical trials in its approach to measuring patient progress.

Instead of relying on physician rating scales in a clinical setting, which often provide limited data, this study utilizes digital devices to collect a vast array of objective, quantitative measurements directly from patients in their homes.

These measurements include mobility, breathing, and sleeping patterns. This innovative method enables a more precise and personalized assessment of disease progression and treatment-related changes.

VRG50635 has shown efficacy in preclinical studies and has the potential to be a best-in-class therapy for ALS. It is a potent, orally bioavailable PIKfyve inhibitor optimized specifically for the treatment of central nervous system disorders like ALS.

Earlier in 2023, BiopharmaTrend reported promising results from the Phase 1 clinical trial of VRG50635.

The trial, which tested the drug's safety and tolerability in 80 healthy adult volunteers, reported no serious adverse events and confirmed the drug's safety. The pharmacokinetics of VRG50635 indicated dose-proportional increases, supporting its potential as a once-daily oral medication.

Notably, Verge Genomics managed to progress the drug candidate to this stage within just 4 years, including the target discovery and drug design, which speaks in favor of their AI platform capabilities.

Topics: Novel Therapeutics   

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