U.S. Department of Defense Researchers to Study Ability of siFi2 to Drive Axon Regeneration and Functional Recovery following Spinal Cord Injury
NEW YORK, Feb. 19, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- MicroCures, a biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutics that harness the body’s innate regenerative mechanisms to accelerate tissue repair, today announced that it has entered into a material transfer agreement (MTA) with the Henry M. Jackson Foundation (HJF) for the Advancement of Military Medicine. Under terms of the agreement, United States Department of Defense researchers will conduct a preclinical study of siFi2, MicroCures’ lead product candidate, in animal models of spinal cord injury. siFi2, a small interfering RNA (siRNA) therapeutic that can be applied topically, is designed to enhance recovery after trauma.
Researchers, led by Kimberly Byrnes, Ph.D. of Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, will evaluate the potential of siFi2 treatment to drive axon regeneration and functional recovery in a rat model of spinal cord injury. As part of this study, multiple siFi2 formulations will be evaluated in order to assist in the identification of a lead formulation to be advanced into clinical development.
MicroCures’ technology is based on foundational scientific research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine regarding the fundamental role that cell movement plays as a driver of the body’s innate capacity to repair tissue, nerves, and organs. The company has shown that complex and dynamic networks of microtubules within cells crucially control cell migration, and that this cell movement can be reliably modulated to achieve a range of therapeutic benefits. Based on these findings, the company has established a first-of-its-kind proprietary platform to create siRNA-based therapeutics capable of precisely controlling the speed and direction of cell movement by selectively silencing microtubule regulatory proteins (MRPs).
The company has developed a broad pipeline of therapeutic programs with an initial focus in the area of tissue, nerve and organ repair. Unlike regenerative medicine approaches that rely upon engineered materials or systemic growth factor/stem cell therapeutics, MicroCures’ technology directs and enhances the body’s inherent healing processes through local, temporary modulation of cell motility. siFi2 is a topical siRNA-based treatment designed to silence the activity of Fidgetin-Like 2 (FL2), a fundamental MRP, within an area of wounded tissue or nerve. In doing so, the therapy temporarily triggers accelerated movement of cells essential for repair into an injury area. Importantly, based on its topical administration, siFi2 can be applied early in the treatment process as a supplement to current standard of care.
“The U.S. Department of Defense continues to be a valued and trusted partner for MicroCures as we work to advance research of siFi2 with the goal of ultimately delivering transformative treatments to patients with significant unmet medical needs,” said David Sharp, Ph.D., co-founder and chief science officer of MicroCures. “With a focus in the area of spinal cord injury, this MTA further demonstrates the broad applicability of our technology platform to a range of therapeutic indications. We look forward to collaborating with Dr. Byrnes and her team at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences to continue the advancement of this promising program.”
Previously conducted research in a rat model of spinal cord injury has demonstrated that treatment with siFi2 allowed axon growth to occur through the inhibitory barriers that typically appear and prevent healing at the site of injury. Conversely, study results failed to demonstrate similar axon growth through these inhibitory barriers for animals administered a siRNA control treatment. Additional preclinical findings have demonstrated functional improvement in rats with spinal cord injury following treatment with siFi2. This was evidenced by significantly improved hind limb locomotor function in siFi2-treated animals as compared to control subjects at Day 5 (p < 0.05) and Day 7 (p < 0.01).
MicroCures develops biopharmaceuticals that harness innate cellular mechanisms within the body to precisely control the rate and direction of cell migration, offering the potential to deliver powerful therapeutic benefits for a variety of large and underserved medical applications.
MicroCures has developed a broad pipeline of novel therapeutic programs with an initial focus in the area of tissue, nerve and organ repair. The company’s lead therapeutic candidate, siFi2, targets excisional wound healing, a multi-billion dollar market inadequately served by current treatments. Additional applications for the company’s cell migration accelerator technology include dermal burn repair, corneal burn repair, cavernous nerve repair/regeneration, spinal cord repair/regeneration, and cardiac tissue repair. Cell migration decelerator applications include combatting cancer metastases and fibrosis. The company protects its unique platform and proprietary therapeutic programs with a robust intellectual property portfolio including eight issued or allowed patents, as well as eight pending patent applications.
For more information please visit: www.microcures.com
Vida Strategic Partners (On behalf of MicroCures)
Stephanie Diaz (investors)
Tim Brons (media)