ACADIA Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq: ACAD), a biopharmaceutical company focused on innovative treatments that address unmet medical needs in neurological and related central nervous system disorders, today announced that it has been awarded a new grant from The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) for the further development of Nurr1-RXR selective agonists for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. The grant of $322,000 is a supplemental award to expand on promising initial research conducted by ACADIA under an earlier grant from MJFF. The initial grant was made under the Foundation’s Therapeutics Development Initiative (TDI) aimed at supporting preclinical development of Parkinson’s disease therapies that have the potential for fundamentally altering disease course and improving treatment of symptoms above and beyond current standards of care. The new grant has been awarded to expand upon the work originally awarded through the TDI program.
“Our Foundation is devoted to finding a disease-modifying treatment to halt the progression of Parkinson’s, the major unmet need for those living with the disease today,” said Jamie Eberling, Ph.D., associate director of research programs at MJFF. “Data from ACADIA’s initial experiments targeting Nurr1 have been encouraging to this end.”
Parkinson’s disease results from a progressive loss of brain cells that produce dopaminergic neurons. Scientific evidence suggests that Nurr1, a nuclear hormone receptor, plays a critical role in the growth, maintenance and survival of dopaminergic neurons. Scientists at ACADIA discovered compounds that selectively activate Nurr1-RXR complexes and promote viability of dopamine-containing neurons. In early research, these compounds were effective in restoring motor function and neuronal health in preclinical models of Parkinson’s disease. Future efforts will focus on further studies of the therapeutic potential and pharmacokinetics of Nurr1-RXR selective agonists.
“We are excited to expand on the promising research findings in our Nurr1 program through the support of The Michael J. Fox Foundation,” said Uli Hacksell, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of ACADIA. “We remain committed to advancing innovative therapeutic approaches that have the potential to improve the quality of life of patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease and related neurological disorders.”
About Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease is a chronic and progressive neurological disorder that is characterized by well-known motor symptoms including tremors, limb stiffness, slowness of movements, and difficulties with posture and balance, as well as by non-motor symptoms. Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurological disorder and about one million people in the United States, and from four to six million people worldwide, suffer from this disease. Parkinson’s disease is more common in people over 60 years of age and its prevalence is expected to increase significantly as the average age of the population increases.
About ACADIA Pharmaceuticals
ACADIA is a biopharmaceutical company focused on innovative treatments that address unmet medical needs in neurological and related central nervous system disorders. ACADIA has four product candidates in clinical development led by pimavanserin, which is in Phase III development as a potential first-in-class treatment for Parkinson’s disease psychosis. ACADIA’s other clinical-stage products include collaborative programs for chronic pain and glaucoma with Allergan, Inc. and a collaborative program for schizophrenia with Meiji Seika Pharma Co., Ltd. In addition, ACADIA has preclinical programs directed at Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders. All of ACADIA’s product candidates are small molecules that emanate from discoveries made using its proprietary drug discovery platform. ACADIA maintains a website at www.acadia-pharm.com to which ACADIA regularly posts copies of its press releases as well as additional information and through which interested parties can subscribe to receive e-mail alerts.
About The Michael J. Fox Foundation
The Michael J. Fox Foundation is dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease through an aggressively funded research agenda and to ensuring the development of improved therapies for those living with Parkinson’s today. In addition to funding more than $285 million in research to date, the Foundation has fundamentally altered the trajectory of progress toward a cure. For more information, visit www.michaeljfox.org.
Statements in this press release that are not strictly historical in nature are forward-looking statements. These statements include but are not limited to statements related to the development of new Parkinson’s disease therapies, including Nurr1-RXR agonists and pimavanserin, the mission of The Michael J. Fox Foundation, ACADIA’s anticipated preclinical testing of Nurr1-RXR agonists, the anticipated increasing prevalence of Parkinson’s disease, the progress and timing of ACADIA’s drug discovery and development programs, either alone or with a partner, including clinical trials, and the potential of and the benefits to be derived from ACADIA’s programs, in each case including the Nurr1 program. These statements are only predictions based on current information and expectations and involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Actual events or results may differ materially from those projected in any of such statements due to various factors, including the risks and uncertainties inherent in drug discovery, development and commercialization, and collaborations with others, and the fact that past results, including clinical trials, may not be indicative of future results, as well as risks relating to our funding requirements. For a discussion of these and other factors, please refer to ACADIA’s annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011 as well as other subsequent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof. This caution is made under the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All forward-looking statements are qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement and ACADIA undertakes no obligation to revise or update this press release to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof, except as required by law.