Myelin Repair Foundation grants license for novel mouse model to Biogen Idec

The Myelin Repair Foundation (MRF) today has granted a non-exclusive sublicense to Biogen Idec (NASDAQ: BIIB) for the use of MRF’s technologies to generate a novel mouse model for all demyelinating diseases, including multiple sclerosis (MS). Biogen Idec, an independent biotechnology company with a strong focus on multiple sclerosis therapies, will use the MRF technology in its in-house drug discovery programs. The Myelin Repair Foundation and Biogen Idec will collaborate to improve the licensed technologies to enhance discovery of myelin repair therapeutics and speed clinical development.

Novel technologies such as this mouse model come as a direct result of MRF’s Accelerated Research CollaborationTM (ARCTM) model, which centers on a collaborative research approach that accounts for the entire continuum of therapeutics development, from early research through clinical trials. The DTA mouse model was pioneered by MRF Principal Investigator Dr. Brian Popko, Ph.D., and Dr. Maria Traka, Ph.D., both from the University of Chicago, in collaboration with MRF Principal Investigator Dr. Stephen Miller, Ph.D. and Dr. Joseph Podojil, Ph.D., both from Northwestern University. The most commonly used models for MS currently mimic the hyperactive inflammatory process in MS patients. The DTA model is unique because demyelination is the result of the specific loss of the principal target cells in multiple sclerosis, thus facilitating the identification of potential treatments that will restore myelin production by these target cells.


“Our collaboration with the Myelin Repair Foundation will incorporate their technology into our evaluation of novel approaches to stimulating myelin repair,” said Ken Rhodes, Vice President of Neurology Research, Biogen Idec. “Our collaborative efforts with MRF scientists will evaluate drug candidates’ effectiveness in reversing myelin damage and hopefully advance R&D efforts for a new generation of MS therapeutics.”


“We are thrilled to collaborate with Biogen Idec as a demonstration of our commitment to patients,” said Scott Johnson, CEO, founder and president of the Myelin Repair Foundation. “We feel it is unique that as a nonprofit research organization, we are licensing our technology to a pharmaceutical company to support drug discovery of MS therapeutics. The MRF’s Accelerated Research Collaboration model is designed to translate academic research discoveries to the industry setting. With Biogen Idec by our side, our goal is to utilize improved technology to advance MRF programs for myelin repair therapies into the clinic, to ultimately impact patients with MS.”


The DTA model displays characteristics reminiscent of the progressive form of MS, not yet available in any other mouse model. The DTA mouse model is designed to facilitate the discovery of drugs for MS and other demyelinating diseases. Currently, there are no treatments on the market to repair myelin damage from MS. This chronic disease is typically due to active degeneration of the myelin sheath surrounding the nerves and inadequate repair of the damage.

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