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The ALS Therapy Development Institute Partners with Neurotune to Investigate Potential Treatments for Motor Neuron Disease
Date:5/14/2012

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. and SCHLIEREN-ZURICH, Switzerland, May 14, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI) announced today that it has entered into collaboration with Neurotune to investigate a potential treatment for ALS (aka Motor Neuron or Lou Gehrig's disease).

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"Maintaining the health of motor neurons and their connections to muscles will be central in the effort to combat ALS. We are very pleased to be partnered with Neurotune on this important project and are eager for results," said Steve Perrin, Ph.D., CEO & CSO of ALS TDI. 

In ALS, motor neurons and their axons become disconnected from the muscle.  Maintaining connectivity at this "neuromuscular junction" is crucial to a person's ability to freely move, eat and breathe independently, all functions that are gradually lost as ALS progresses.  Neurotune has developed a novel class of compounds to maintain neuromuscular junction strength and stability. Under the terms of the agreement, ALS TDI will use one of those compounds in a preclinical model of ALS to determine if the treatment has an effect on disease course. 

"The collaboration with ALS TDI will allow Neurotune to have one of its most promising compounds developed for neuromuscular diseases tested in the ALS disease model. This might open new approaches in the treatment of ALS," emphasizes Armin Mader, Ph.D., CEO of Neurotune.

About ALS

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that leads to paralysis, due to the death of motor neurons in the spinal cord and brain. There is no known cause, cure or effective treatment for the disease. About 5,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with ALS each year; the incidence is similar to Multiple Sclerosis. However, with no effective treatment and an aggressive and rapid disease progression, the average patient survives only 2-5 years following their diagnosis. There are about 30,000 U.S. citizens diagnosed with the disease at any given time. The worldwide population of ALS patients is estimated at 400,000.

About the ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI)

The mission of the ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI) is to develop effective therapeutics that slow or stop amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease) as soon as possible for patients today. Focused on meeting this urgent unmet medical need, ALS TDI executes a robust target discovery program, while simultaneously operating the world's largest efforts to preclinically validate potential therapeutics; including a pipeline of dozens of small molecules, protein biologics, gene therapies and cell-based constructs. The world's first nonprofit biotech institute, ALS TDI has developed an industrial-scale platform, employs 30 professional scientists and evaluates dozens of potential therapeutics each year. ALS TDI collaborates with leaders in both academia and industry to accelerate ALS therapeutic development, including Biogen Idec, UCB, Aestus Therapeutics, MDA and RGK Foundation. ALS TDI is a 501(c)3 registered charitable nonprofit organization. For more information, please visit us online at www.als.net

About Neurotune AG (www.neurotune.com)

Neurotune develops medications to treat disorders of the human nervous system and is developing treatments, which modulate (tune) the connections between nerve cells and their target cells. The Company is developing a strong pipeline of drugs targeting large, growing markets where there is significant unmet medical need, including chronic pain and sarcopenia, the age-related loss of muscle mass which will affect over 3% of the total world population by 2015. Neurotune employs a strong multi-disciplinary team. It was incorporated in January 2005 and is domiciled in Schlieren-Zurich, Switzerland.

Media Contact: Mari Sullivan, ALS TDI, msullivan@als.net, 617-441-7220


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