NEW HAVEN, Conn., Nov. 07, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Wings for Life foundation has made a significant commitment to ReNetX Bio, a New-Haven, Conn. based biotech startup that is advancing a cutting-edge therapy for chronic spinal cord injury to clinical trial. The foundation’s support is a testament to the promising research results from ReNetX Founder and Scientific Advisor Stephen Strittmatter, MD, PhD, Vincent Coates Professor of Neurology at Yale. His discovery of proteins which limit nerve fiber growth after injury, and subsequent development of a molecule to block receptors for these proteins, have formed the basis of a therapeutic that offers the first real hope to patients with chronic spinal cord injury.
“Our mission is to find a cure for spinal cord injury,” says Jane Hsieh, Executive Director of the Wings for Life Accelerated Translational Program. “Dr. Strittmatter discovered and developed a molecule that blocks three different inhibitors, stabilizes the nervous system and allows for neuro-regeneration. This is a completely unmet need.”
For injured rats treated with this molecule, nearly a third of the animals regained full mobility even after a three-month delay between injury and treatment. “Any successful therapeutic to date that’s been neuro-regenerative has been used in the acute situation,” says Armin Curt, MD, PhD, Clinical Director at Wings for Life. “This is the first time we’ve seen such positive results in the chronic paradigm,” adding that there are an estimated 285,000 people currently living with this condition in the US. The planned ReNetX clinical trial will be for subjects with chronic spinal cord injury.
Hsieh describes the funding as a critical bridge to help ReNetX Bio cross what is known as the “valley of death,” to advance the program to key proof of concept milestones needed from a large-scale clinical trial to spark additional investor and industry engagement to advance promising treatments for patients. “We in foundations recognize that this is an area where we can step in,” Hsieh says. “Our primary purpose is to accelerate translation so our population will get these innovative treatments faster.”
The Wings for Life foundation was founded by motocross world champion Heinz Kinigadner with Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz after a tragic accident which left Kinigadner's son Hannes tetraplegic. One hundred percent of their donations goes to fund promising research.
“Wings for Life has been an incredible partner,” says ReNetX CEO Erika R. Smith. “They have given us the means to accelerate launch for a full clinical trial that can provide us with the necessary data to advance these first-in-class therapeutics for patients suffering from chronic spinal cord injury.”
Trials will begin in late 2018. For more information, visit http://www.renetx.com/.
About ReNetX Bio
ReNetX Bio developing first-in-class therapeutics to treat injury and damage to the central nervous system (CNS) in conditions such as spinal cord injury (SCI)and glaucoma. The company was founded based on innovative technology from Dr. Stephen Strittmatter's work at Yale University to improve neurologic function after CNS injury by regenerating axon to restore functionality of neural networks – creating a significant and completely unmet need estimated at >$5B annually.
About Wings for Life
Wings for Life is a not-for-profit spinal cord research foundation. Our mission is to find a cure for spinal cord injury. We fund world-class scientific research and clinical trials around the globe aimed at healing the injured spinal cord.