RARE Daily

Otsuka and Eikonizo to Collaborate on Treatments for ALS and Other Rare Diseases

February 18, 2021

Rare Daily Staff

Japan-based Otsuka Pharmaceuticals entered a collaboration agreement with Eikonizo Therapeutics to develop treatments for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and other rare diseases.

Under the terms of the agreement, Otsuka’s U.S.-based McQuade Center for Strategic Research and Development (MSRD) and Eikonizo will collaborate to advance Eikonizo’s inhibitors of histone deacetylase-6 (HDAC6) inhibitors through preclinical and phase 1b clinical studies respectively, with the opportunity to expand the collaboration after those studies.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive disease that causes damage to cells in the brain and spinal cord known as motor neurons. Motor neurons transmit signals from the brain to the muscles. When motor neurons become damaged and eventually die, the brain can no longer control muscle actions. The motor neurons affected in ALS are those that initiate and control voluntary movements. With the progressive loss of voluntary muscle action, patients with ALS may lose their ability to speak, eat, move and breathe.

“Eikonizo is discovering and developing novel small molecule therapeutics and leveraging companion target engagement technology to de-risk and accelerate development,” said Janice Kranz, co-founder, president, and CEO of Eikonizo.

“We believe our approach and our brain-penetrant HDAC6 inhibitors could provide a transformative therapy for ALS.”

Eikonizo will leverage MSRD’s experience and support to accelerate development of its first therapeutic candidate into the clinic.

Photo: Janice Kranz, co-founder, CEO and president of Eikonizo.


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