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Berg Pharma and the Parkinson's Institute ink R&D collaboration to drive disease understanding and accelerate therapeutic and diagnostic development in Parkinson's Disease
Date:6/25/2012

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. and SUNNYVALE, Calif., June 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Berg Pharma, a Boston-based pharmaceutical company and the renowned Parkinson's Institute announced a unique partnership that would enable a more robust modeling in the investigation of Parkinson's Disease (PD).  There are approximately one million Americans who live with the disease with 50,000 new cases per year and this rate is expected to rise with an aging baby boomer population. The underlying pathophysiology and disease understanding of PD still remains elusive due to a combination of disease complexity and lack of predictive capability of existing models. 

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Dr. William Langston, Founder, Scientific Director, and CEO of the Parkinson's Institute said, "We believe that with the in depth knowledge of Parkinson's disease we have at the Institute and the exciting new Berg Interrogative Biology platform, there is a real possibility that we accelerate our mission of finding the cause and cure for the disease, for these reasons we are very excited about this collaboration."

The hallmark discovery of the association of MPTP and parkinsonism in 1982 by Dr. William Langston, an internationally renowned neurology researcher and advisor to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, opened the field up to research and today leads the Institute that houses a strong clinical and research capability. 

Niven R. Narain, Co-founder, President, and CTO of Berg Pharma commented, "The opportunity to collaborate with a giant such as Dr. Langston and gain the years of expertise, clinical insight, and collaborative research combined with the power of Interrogative Biology® should unravel key insight into this unrelenting illness and allow for enhanced clinical management and first-in-class diagnostics and prognostics."

The Berg Interrogative Biology® discovery platform has demonstrated a unique capability in producing drug targets and biomarkers that truly represent a disease phenotype.  It has been able to catalyze molecules now in late stage clinical trials in cancer and many pre-clinical candidate therapeutics and biomarkers in endocrinology and CNS diseases.  The platform is able to decipher normal versus disease signatures by integration of data sets from the genome, metabolome, proteome, and lipidome in an agnostic manner that is subjected to Bayesian AI informatics.  The resulting nodes are then put back into wet-lab validation before proceeding to proof-of-principle pre-clinical testing for diagnostic or therapeutic development. 

Eric J. Nestler, M.D., Ph.D., Nash Professor and Chairman, Department of Neuroscience and Director of the Friedman Brain Institute at The Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York said, "This new collaboration holds tremendous promise for our understanding and treatment of Parkinson's Disease. Berg Pharma's uniquely broad capability to explore biochemical abnormalities, coupled with the Parkinson's Institute's repository of tissues from patients with this syndrome, should result in fundamental advances in our ability to diagnose Parkinson's Disease as well as to treat its underlying causes. This is a very exciting new partnership."

Berg Pharma will gain access to a gold mine of clinically annotated tissue samples that represent various types of PD samples and specific mutations such as the LRKK2 mutation which Dr. Birgitt Schuele, Assistant Professor, has collected over the last seven years who will co-lead the collaboration with Berg CNS Disease Program Leader, Paula P. Perez. The Berg team will subject samples to proprietary protocols in the Interrogative Biology® discovery platform for diagnostic and therapeutic outcome. Financial terms of the relationship were not released.

About Berg Pharma

Berg Pharma is a Boston based pharmaceutical company and parent company to Berg Biosystems and Berg Diagnostics. Our research focus seeks to understand how alterations in metabolism relate to disease onset.  We have uncovered key insight into metabolic control factors and namely into underlying elements in the Warburg Hypothesis. The company has a deep pipeline of early-stage technologies in CNS diseases and metabolic diseases that complement its late-stage clinical trial activity in cancer and prevention of chemotoxicity. Armed with use of the discovery platform that translates biological output into viable therapeutics and a robust biomarker library, Berg Pharma is poised to realize its pursuit of a healthier tomorrow.

About the Parkinson's Institute and Clinical Center

The Parkinson's Institute is a medical research organization focused on finding the cause(s) and cure for Parkinson's disease, while providing world-class care to its patients. The Institute has a Basic Research department investigating genetic basis, bio-chemical and cellular mechanisms of Parkinson's disease. A large Clinical Research department concentrates its activities on epidemiological studies of Parkinson's disease patient populations. The Institute's clinic offers specialized movement disorder neurology treatment as well as physical, occupational, and speech therapy with a rich patient outreach and education program.


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