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MDA Supports Development of 'Dissociative Glucocorticoid' for DMD
Date:5/3/2012

TUCSON, Ariz., May 3, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Muscular Dystrophy Association announced today that it has awarded $1,549,725 to ReveraGen BioPharma, a Rockville, Md., biotechnology company, to develop and test a "dissociative glucocorticoid" as a potential treatment for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD).

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MDA has partnered with the U.S. National Institutes of Health Therapeutics for Rare and Neglected Diseases (TRND) program in supporting development of this drug. The award was made through MDA Venture Philanthropy (MVP), the drug development arm of MDA's translational research program.

Glucocorticoid (also known as "corticosteroid") medications — such as prednisone and prednisolone — are widely prescribed in DMD, where they slow the progression of the disease, probably by reducing muscle inflammation, as well as other effects. However, glucocorticoids have many side effects, such as weight gain, reduced bone density, hypertension and psychological distress, which limit their usefulness and highlight the need for alternative therapies.

The side effects are believed to be caused mostly by the so-called "genomic" actions of glucocorticoids, while most of their benefits appear to be due to their nongenomic actions.

ReveraGen (formerly known as Validus BioPharma) says its experimental compound VB15 is designed to eliminate the genomic effects of glucocorticoids while retaining their nongenomic effects.

"We're really excited about this project," said Jane Larkindale, MDA's director of translational research. "A medication that provides the benefits of glucocorticoids without the side effects would be most welcome by the Duchenne dystrophy community. S
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SOURCE Muscular Dystrophy Association
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