Non-profit epilepsy research sponsor, Epilepsy Therapy Project (ETP), has announced it is to invest in central nervous system (CNS) drug delivery specialist, ICVrx, to support the development of novel drug tech designed to tackle refractory epilepsy.
The new treatment involves the use of drug pumps implanted in the brain to allow the targeted delivery of ICVrx’s CNS drugs to specific brain sites.
Colorado-based ICVrx said the process involves similar surgery to that of implanting pumps for spinal drug delivery – a 45 minute procedure already performed successfully in over 100,000 patients – and aims to provide the epilepsy community with a “first choice” treatment option, rather than high-risk, high-cost, and irreversible brain surgery.
“Our business and scientific advisory boards are enthusiastic about ICVrx’s strategy of combining a drug delivery pump technology with established epilepsy medications for direct administration to the central nervous system,” said Warren Lammert, chairman and co-founder of ETP.
“This approach may reduce systemic toxic effects of selected oral anti-epilepsy drugs, facilitate increased local drug concentrations at the site of action, and offer the potential to improve overall tolerability of the effective dose.”
ICVrx has already completed preclinical work on three generic drugs reformulated for use with its implanted pump, and will now begin full clinical studies.
Daniel Abrahams, CEO of ICVrx, explained that ETP’s input provided the company with a welcome fillip during what was a crucial stage in the new treatment’s development.
“We are honoured to receive ETP’s investment, which enables ICVrx to move forward with phase ½ proof-of-concept clinical studies – an important milestone in our effort to bring this new class of therapy to patients,” he said.
“ETP’s business and medical leadership are amongst the best in CNS drug and device development. We deeply appreciate their interest in and support of our work.”
Lemmert said ETP had high hopes for ICVrx’s new drug technology, and stressed the organisation remained committed to investing in promising start-ups developing epilepsy treatments.
“ETP is making a special-case investment in ICVrx’s promising technology for the millions of people suffering uncontrolled or, refractory epilepsy,” he said.
Epilepsy currently affects nearly three million people across the USA, and more than 50 million people worldwide.