Center for Excellence in Apoptosis Research selects Amarantus BioSciences Inc. to explore new treatments for brain disorders
The Pioneer Valley Life Sciences Institute’s (PVLSI) Center for Excellence in Apoptosis Research has awarded a $27,900 translational research grant to Amarantus BioSciences Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., a biotechnology company that is developing new treatments for brain-related disorders including Parkinson’s disease and traumatic brain injuries. The award is centered on Amarantus’s anti-apoptotic therapeutic protein, mesencephalic-astrocyte-derived neurotrophic factor (MANF).
Larry Schwartz, Isenberg Professor of Integrative Sciences and principal investigator of the PVLSI project, said, “The literature on MANF has grown extensively during the past few years, and there appears to be a solid rationale for investigating the potential use of MANF in areas other than Parkinson’s disease. Our study complements the work of other labs around the world that are focusing on MANF. Our relationship with Amarantus will be critical to ensure that we can translate this basic science into clinical research in a number of different therapeutic indications.”
Schwartz and other investigators will exploit publicly available genomics databases to identify potential new targets for MANF-based therapeutics and validate those hypotheses in cell-based laboratory research. The program could lead to the identification and patenting of therapeutic uses for MANF beyond what has already been reported. PVLSI is a joint research venture of Baystate Medical Center in Springfield and UMass Amherst.
Gerald Commissiong, president and CEO of Amarantus, said, “This grant will enable Amarantus to explore the full breadth of the MANF opportunity. As our development program for Parkinson’s progresses toward the critical milestone of identifying the best delivery target(s) for MANF, identifying additional disease targets for MANF therapy could significantly increase the value of our intellectual property portfolio and make Amarantus more attractive to potential partners.”
Amarantus BioSciences, Inc. is a biotechnology firm founded in January 2008 with a focus on developing certain biologics surrounding the technologies it owns to treat or diagnose Parkinson’s disease, traumatic brain injury and other human diseases. It is a founding member of the Coalition for Concussion Treatment (C4CT), a collaboration with Brewer Sports International to raise awareness of emerging treatments for concussions and nervous-system disorders.