Bayer moves forward with cell and gene therapies for Parkinson’s disease

Bayer announced today that its BlueRock Therapeutics subsidiary successfully administered the first dose of its Parkinson’s disease therapies.

Berlin-based Bayer said in a news release that BlueRock successfully administered the dose of its investigational pluripotent stem cell-derived dopaminergic neruons, called DA01, to a Parkinson’s disease patient in an open-label Phase 1 clinical safety and tolerability study.

Additionally, Bayer said its wholly-owned, clinical-stage adeno-associated virus (AAV) gene therapy company, Asklepios BioPharmaceutical (AskBio), is currently recruiting and evaluating patients in an ongoing Phase 1b clinical study to assess the safety and preliminary efficacy of a parallel gene therapy program for Parkinson’s disease.

BlueRock will enroll 10 patients across the U.S. and Canada. Those enrolled will undergo surgical transplantation of the dopamine-producing cells into the putamen deep brain structure, with a…

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What is needed to develop disease-modifying therapies for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s 

Photo by Edward Jenner from Pexels

Developing disease-modifying therapies for neurodegenerative diseases remains a pressing need.

The incidence of neurodegenerative disease is ramping up in the U.S. and elsewhere as much of the global population ages. One out of three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Parkinson’s disease is also becoming more widespread. Between 2015 and 2040, the number of people with Parkinson’s could nearly triple, rising from 6.3 to 17.5 million.

But developing drugs that can slow or stop the progression of such diseases poses a significant challenge for drug developers. Eli Lilly’s donanemab, for instance, showed promise earlier this year in treating Alzheimer’s in a Phase 2 study summarized in NEJM.

Another Alheimer’s candidate, aducanumab from Biogen, has also shown promise, although late l…

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