CURE DUCHENNE VENTURES INVESTMENT SUPPORTS THE DEVELOPMENT OF A NEW THERAPY FOR BONE WASTAGE IN DUCHENNE MUSCULAR DYSTROPHY
Newport Beach, CA (November 10, 2020) – CureDuchenne Ventures, the research funding arm of CureDuchenne, a leading global nonprofit dedicated to finding and funding a cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), announced an investment in Mesentech Inc., a regenerative medicine company with a prodrug platform that selectively delivers therapeutics to bone. The investment is part of a new joint funding collaboration with the Charles H. Hood Foundation (CHF) that looks to advance early-stage research for pediatric conditions.
The investment supports Mesentech’s lead program, MES-1007, into clinical development and its evaluation in Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Pediatric osteoporosis is a significant problem for DMD patients, leading to frequent fractures and premature loss of ambulation. There are currently no approved therapies for bone wastage for individuals affected by Duchenne. There is tremendous potential for MES-1007 to be the first targeted therapy to specifically address bone wastage in these individuals.
“We are excited about the potential impact Mesentech’s bone regenerative treatment will have for the Duchenne community,” said Debra Miller, Founder and CEO of CureDuchenne. “By collaborating with CHF on this investment, we can greatly increase the impact of our venture philanthropy model. Addressing bone morbidities that contribute to the loss of ambulation could significantly add quality of life to everyone affected by Duchenne.”
“The Hood Foundation is proud to join CureDuchenne in delivering capital at a critical juncture for a novel approach to address a great need for those living with Duchenne,” added John Parker, a CHF Trustee and Managing Director of the Foundation’s program-related investment fund. “Mesentech’s program fits perfectly with our investment objective of backing game-changing innovation that improves outcomes for children afflicted by disease.”
In addition to the funds provided, CureDuchenne will play an active role in helping the company advance their prodrug technology platform for Duchenne. As part of the transaction, CureDuchenne’s Chief Scientific Officer, Michael Kelly, PhD, will be added to Mesentech’s scientific advisory board.
“We are delighted that CureDuchenne and the Hood Foundation see the great potential to the DMD community of MES-1007 treatment and to welcome Dr. Kelly to our scientific advisory board,” said Jonathan Polak, Mesentech’s CEO. “The investment by CureDuchenne Ventures and the Hood Foundation supports the bone regenerative potential of MES-1007 and our bi-specific prodrug technology platform. We look forward to working with Dr. Kelly and the rest of the CureDuchenne team to evaluate MES-1007 bone growth potential in DMD.”
CureDuchenne will also be hosting a webinar with Mesentech on December 10th, entitled Mesentech and The Importance of Bone Health. The community is encouraged to join and listen to learn directly from Mesentech about their novel therapeutic approach for improving bone density and strength.
About Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy
Duchenne is a severe X-linked form of muscular dystrophy that affects approximately 1 in 5000 males. DMD is caused by the absence of the dystrophin protein. Dystrophin is a large protein that provides multiple cellular functions and helps to protect skeletal and cardiac muscle against injury, inflammation and fibrosis. Individuals with Duchenne show progressive muscular degeneration and lose the ability to walk by early to mid-teens and progress to full loss of upper body function. Cardiopulmonary complications are the primary cause of death.
CureDuchenne is recognized as a global leader in research, patient care and innovation for improving and extending the lives of those with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. As the leading genetic killer of young boys, Duchenne affects more than 300,000 individuals living today. CureDuchenne is dedicated to finding and funding a cure for Duchenne by breaking the traditional charitable mold through an innovative venture philanthropy model that funds groundbreaking research, early diagnosis, and community education. For more information on how to help raise awareness and funds needed for research, please visit www.cureduchenne.org.
About the Charles H. Hood Foundation
Since 1942, the Charles H. Hood Foundation has carried on the legacy of founder Charles H. Hood by funding groundbreaking and innovative pediatric research. After decades of successful grant programs, the Foundation broke new ground in 2015 by establishing its program-related investment fund to support entrepreneurial efforts to significantly improve health outcomes of children. Through both its grants and investments, the Foundation has made meaningful change possible by filling the gaps in the medical research and innovation funding marketplace. To learn more about the Hood Foundation please visit CharlesHoodFoundation.org.
About Mesentech Inc.
Mesentech makes bi-specific small-molecule therapeutics that are selective for both a tissue target and a molecular target. These conjugates deliver an active pharmaceutical agent selectively to target tissue thereby eliminating side effects caused by systemic exposure. Mesentech was founded by Dr. Robert Young — who led teams that discovered SingulAir, Vioxx, Arcoxia, ondanacatib, among others while leading medicinal chemistry at Merck. MES1007, is a bone-targeted prodrug of a prostaglandin mimetic that has the potential to reverse bone-loss caused by diseases such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy and osteoporosis. It is currently undergoing safety evaluations to enable human studies.