Seelos Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:SEEL) stock shot up Thursday after the biotech said it has exclusively in-licensed the rights to a potential disease modifying Parkinson’s disease therapy created by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement, and symptoms include tremors and changes in speech and gait.
Seelos Therapeutics stock nearly doubled to $3.30 in morning trade.
The New York-based biotech has exclusively in-licensed the rights to a family of peptide inhibitors that target the aggregation of alpha-synuclein (α-synuclein).
The function of α-synuclein proteins in the healthy brain is unknown, but Parkinson's researchers are interested in it because it is a major constituent of Lewy bodies, protein clumps that are the pathological hallmark of the neurological disorder.
The company has designed the new program as SLS-007, with an initial focus on Parkinson's disease.
Pre-clinical data provides supportive evidence to slow progression, an early sign of disease-modifying potential in Parkinson’s disease.
Seelos will evaluate the potential for in-vivo delivery of SLS-007 in a Parkinson’s disease transgenic mice model.
"Accumulation and aggregation of α-synuclein is a pathological hallmark of Parkinson’s disease,” Seelos Therapeutics CEO Raj Mehra said in a statement. “Though its role is not completely understood, it appears pivotal in the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s and other α-synucleinopathies such as dementia with Lewy bodies and multiple system atrophy. Reducing the levels of pathological forms of α-synuclein may alter the course of Parkinson’s."
Tim Whitaker, who is the head of R&D at Seelos, said that the current available treatments for Parkinson’s including Dopamine promoter Levodopa and deep brain stimulation, “long-term outcomes for patients remain poor."
"With no disease-modifying treatments, and long-term use of established dopaminergic therapies resulting in both adverse events and side effects, significant need remains to develop not only a better means of restoring striatal dopamine but a safe and effective treatment that slows progression of the disease in patients with Parkinson’s,” said Whitaker.
Under the terms of the license, Seelos paid The UC Regents and UCLA $100,000 upfront and will pay royalties on net sales.
Contact Uttara Choudhury at [email protected]