Fast Forward, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and Axxam SpA join Forces to Accelerate Development of Treatments for Multiple Sclerosis and Type 1 Diabetes
Fast Forward, LLC, the commercial drug development arm of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), the leader in research leading to a cure for type 1 diabetes in the world entered a collaborative partnership with Axxam SpA – a leading company in conducting early-stage discovery research programs for the life science industry – to develop new treatments for two autoimmune diseases, multiple sclerosis (MS) and type 1 diabetes (T1D).
Under the terms of the agreement, Axxam will screen its extensive chemical library to identify compounds that can target specific ion channels in the immune system. Ion channels are tiny pores on the surface of immune cells that control the influx of charged particles and allow the cells to become activated to perform their natural surveillance and protection functions. Recent studies have found that immune cells in MS and T1D contain high levels of a specific ion channel, Kv1.3, and that the hyperactivity of this channel contributes to the dysfunction of the immune system in MS and T1D. If the initial research is successful, Axxam will have identified compounds that modulate Kv1.3 ion channel activities, and these will be further developed by the company as potential therapies for MS and T1D.
The agreement with Axxam is the first of its kind between cross-disciplinary patient advocacy organizations and represents a new frontier in which groups such as JDRF and Fast Forward ally to lessen the risk of drug discovery and accelerate the development of new therapies that can impact multi-disorders.