More MJFF funding for drug development

Sangamo BioSciences, a developer of DNA-binding proteins for therapeutic gene regulation and modification, has been awarded a second round of funding by The Michael J Fox Foundation, or MJFF, for Parkinson’s research to support studies in non-human primates for the development of a ZFP Therapeutic to treat Parkinson’s disease. The $900,000 award will be paid over a period of two years.

Sangamo has developed zinc finger DNA-binding protein transcription factors (ZFP TFs) to activate the expression of glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), a potent neurotrophic factor that has shown promise in preclinical testing to slow or stop the progression of Parkinson’s disease.

In earlier preclinical studies also funded by MJFF and carried out by Sangamo scientists and their collaborators, a ZFP TF activator of GDNF was shown to be neuroprotective, resulting in positive functional improvements in a validated rat model of Parkinson’s disease (PD).

Edward Lanphier, president and CEO of Sangamo, said: “We are very pleased that The Michael J Fox Foundation continues to support these investigational new drug-enabling studies as part of our program to develop a novel ZFP Therapeutic for PD. ZFP TF-driven gene activation underpins our lead ZFP Therapeutic (SB-509) which has been evaluated in four Phase II clinical trials for diabetic peripheral neuropathy and demonstrated both clinical efficacy and an excellent safety profile.”

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