GeNeuro’s Therapeutic Focus

GeNeuro is developing treatments for diseases associated with the expression of the human endogenous retrovirus pHERV-W Env, with a primary focus on nervous system diseases and autoimmune diseases: multiple sclerosis, type 1 Diabetes, and chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP). Other indications such as schizophrenia and diseases associated with the expression of other HERVs, such as HERV-K and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), are being investigated in preclinical research.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory disease of the central nervous system that is characterized by progressive neurodegeneration in the brain and spinal cord. The clinical manifestations are muscle weakness, loss of muscle coordination, pain, and progression towards severe disabilities such as loss of vision, bladder control and paralysis. Cognitive and psychological problems are frequent. Today, more than 2.5 million people worldwide suffer from MS.

Type 1 diabetes is a form of diabetes mellitus that results from the autoimmune destruction of the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. The classical symptoms of type 1 diabetes include polyuria (excessive urination), polydipsia (increased thirst), xerostomia (dry mouth), polyphagia (increased hunger), fatigue and weight loss.

Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP) is a rare disorder of the peripheral nerves characterized by progressive weakness and impaired sensory function in the legs and arms. The prevalence of CIDP is estimated to be around 1-2 cases per 100,000 individuals.

Schizophrenia (SCZ) is a severe and chronic psychiatric disorder. The major clinical features of the disease are delusions, auditory hallucinations, thought disorder, social withdrawal, lack of motivation and cognitive dysfunction. Today, more than 51 million people worldwide suffer from SCZ.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. There is a progressive degeneration and loss of the motor neurons in ALS. The control of voluntary muscle action is impacted and patients may lose the ability to speak, eat, move and breathe leading to death. There are two different types of ALS, sporadic and familial.

All these diseases have an unclear etiology, in which environmental and genetic factors seem to play a role. In the 1990’s, a new endogenous retrovirus, named MSRV, belonging to the HERV-W family, was discovered in the cells of an MS patient. 25 years of research and numerous scientific studies by GeNeuro and academic groups have established an association between HERV-W/MSRV and MS, CIDP, type I diabetes and SCZ.