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Sanofi, Fox Foundation Partner on Parkinson’s Drug Trial

Neuron illustration (NIH)

(National Institute on Aging, NIH)

The drug manufacturer Sanofi, based in Paris, and the Michael J. Fox Foundation in New York agreed today to conduct a clinical trial of AVE8112, a Sanofi compound, in patients with Parkinson’s disease. AVE8112 is a type of anti-inflammatory drug known as PDE4 inhibitors that have been tested as treatments for respiratory diseases, but in has shown promise in preclinical research addressing cognitive aspects of Parkinson’s disease.

Under the collaboration, The Michael J. Fox Foundation will sponsor a phase 1-b (proof-of-concept) clinical trial to assess the safety and tolerability of AVE8112 in patients with Parkinson’s disease. All data and results generated by the clinical trial will be owned by the foundation and shared with Sanofi.

The clinical trial will be conducted at sites in the United States in Baltimore and Los Angeles. Patient enrollment in the study is expected to begin later this year. Further development plans will be based upon the results of the study.

Parkinson’s disease is a chronic, degenerative neurological disorder that affects one in 100 people over age 60. While the average age at onset is 60, people have been diagnosed as young as 18. Parkinson’s disease is caused by the diminished production of dopamine, a key neurotransmitter, resulting in progressive impairment of motor function including tremors, rigidity, and difficulty in moving.

Another symptom of Parkinson’s disease is cognitive dysfunction, such as difficulty planning, sequencing, initiating, and sustaining behavior toward a goal. Estimates vary but, according to the foundation, some studies suggest a cognitive deficit may occur in up to 80 percent of people with Parkinson’s.

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