Amarantus BioScience (AMBS.OB) is an interesting name whose story has been generating a buzz in 2013. The company's main product in development is MANF, a highly potent, neurotrophic factor currently in pre-clinical development for the treatment of several apoptosis-related disorders. It is one of the four main protein therapies currently in testing for Parkinson's along with GDNF, Neurturin, and NGF. MANF's discovery protocols, utilizing their proprietary PhenoGuard Protein Discovery Engine, were designed to identify a molecule that would be highly selective for dopamine producing neurons of the Substantia Nigra.
Amarantus' chances with MANF just received a boost after Phytopharm, a UK company, failed in its attempt to develop a successful treatment for Parkinson's. Phytopharm's strategy for Parkinson's was a small molecule used in an attempt to reinvigorate the dead cells and raise the protein levels. To that effect, it obviously didn't succeed but it did narrow down the options available for Parkinson's. The other two methods currently in development to cure Parkinson's are gene and protein therapy, as mentioned above. Amarantus owns rights for both. A gene therapy for Parkinson's is currently in development by Ceregene, a private company, and results from the company's Phase 2b study for Parkinson's are expected in early 2013. Looking forward, that data should help provide some clarity in the gene versus protein therapy battle and serve as a catalyst for Amarantus shares once results come out and headlines start swirling.
The market size for Parkinson's disease is estimated to be $5 billion a year. Taking that fact into consideration in combination with MANF's potential in Parkinson's disease, makes the stock attractive. MANF and the other neurotrophic factors have several advantages over what is currently available on the market. They help regenerate cells, protect current cells, and prevent further worsening of the Parkinson's condition. The current treatmen