GeNeuro in brief

GNbAC1: the first treatment that directly targets a potential cause of multiple sclerosis

GNbAC1: the first treatment that directly targets a potential cause of multiple sclerosis GeNeuro is developing a new approach to treating MS by seeking to block upstream inflammatory and neurodegenerative mechanisms, rather than interfering with the body's immune response. This approach is the result of 25 years of research into human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs), including 15 years within the Institut Mérieux group and INSERM, before GeNeuro was founded in 2006.

That research led to the discovery of a potentially causal factor of multiple sclerosis: the MSRV-Env protein, which is expressed by genes that are normally silent. The presence of MSRV-Env in patients' brains could cause the inflammation and neurodegeneration that characterise MS.

GeNeuro has therefore developed GNbAC1, a monoclonal antibody currently in phase IIb of clinical development, as a treatment for multiple sclerosis. GNbAC1 neutralises the MSRV-Env protein without targeting the patient's immune system, and could be a treatment that is both safe and effective in slowing or stopping the disease's progress in all its forms.

A new therapeutic approach at a time when no currently available treatment appears to have any significant impact on the disease's progression

Multiple sclerosis affects one in every 1,000 people in western countries. It is an autoimmune disease affecting the central nervous system, and is the leading cause of non-traumatic disability among young adults. The market for MS treatments is estimated to be worth almost $20 billion per year.

No currently available treatment for MS appears to diminish in a determining manner the long-term progression of the disease toward disability. Current treatments are approved for "relapsing-remitting" forms of MS, which affect 60% of patients, and they work by altering or suppressing the patient's immune system. These treatments reduce the number of inflammatory relapses with this form of MS, but can cause undesirable side-effects because of the way they affect the immune system. Moreover, there is no approved treatment for progressive forms of MS, which affect around 35% of patients.

A collaboration and licensing agreement with a major French drug company

GeNeuro has formed an agreement with Servier, under which Servier has undertaken to pay GeNeuro up to €362.5 million, excluding royalties, depending on progress. The agreement relates solely to multiple sclerosis and does not cover either the US market – the world's largest – or the Japanese market. GeNeuro has therefore retained all of its rights in two thirds of the global multiple sclerosis market, along with its rights to develop its technology for other diseases.

Other potentially extremely promising opportunities in areas other than multiple sclerosis

GeNeuro intends to capitalise on its technology's potential by developing a therapeutic platform focusing on diseases potentially caused by human endogenous retroviruses. The other indications being explored by GeNeuro include CIDP (chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy) – an orphan neurological disease – and type-1 diabetes. GeNeuro is currently planning phase IIa proof-of-concept trials in these indications.