Avicena gets patent for experimental ALS drug

WASHINGTON The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has granted the Avicena Group a patent for its amyotrophic lateral sclerosis drug candidates.

The contenders, which will treat ALS types AL-02 and AL-08, have undergone several trials as part of an extensive body of clinical research.

ALS, also known as “Lou Gehrig's disease,” is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord, according to the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association. The illness attacks the body’s motor neurons, which reach from the brain and spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The degeneration eventually leads to death.

The pooled analysis of these studies showed the median survival time, which determines the effectiveness of a treatment, revealed an increase of 1.47-fold compared with patients taking a placebo, Avicena said.

Portions of these data have been presented to the FDA and formed the basis for the company’s plans to start a Phase 3 trial in 2008.

Avicena, a late-stage biotechnology company, develops central nervous system therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases, including ALS and Parkinson’s disease.

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