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Minnesota partnership advances potential MS therapy
Date:4/17/2008

ROCHESTER/MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. A production laboratory founded by the Minnesota Partnership has transferred its first potential therapy a medication for multiple sclerosis to a processing plant in Minnesota. This step will complete purification of material to fully enable translation from preclinical to clinical development.

The antibody known as rHIgM22, developed at Mayo Clinic, was produced and purified in the Biotherapeutic Protein Production Laboratory created by a Partnership infrastructure award in 2006. This laboratory was developed within the Molecular and Cellular Therapeutics Facility on the St. Paul campus of the University of Minnesota. The therapy is under license to Acorda Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: ACOR), which is supporting the development of this potential therapy. This includes the Minnesota Partnerships transfer of remaining production and purification to Biovest, Inc., in Minneapolis.

The preclinical success and the promise of this program to date have only enhanced our commitment to the continued advancement of this potential new therapy for people with multiple sclerosis, says Ron Cohen, M.D., Acorda president and CEO. The Partnership has provided a mechanism for academic and commercial institutions to work together effectively in the early stages of developing a promising and innovative therapeutic approach to a very challenging condition.

The importance of the antibody as a promoter of myelin repair (remyelination) was recognized in studies using experimental animal models of multiple sclerosis. The studies were directed by Moses Rodriguez, M.D., a Mayo Clinic neurologist. Multiple sclerosis is a progressive disease, caused by damage to the myelin sheath that surrounds nerves. It can affect the brain and the spinal cord, leaving patients permanently disabled. The rHIgM22 antibody initiates the re-growth or repair of the damaged myelin sheath but has yet to be tested in patients.

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Contact: Nick Hanson
hans2853@umn.edu
612-624-2449
University of Minnesota
Source:Eurekalert

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