This week, Envoy Therapeutics announced a second grant from The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) for the ongoing development of an oral drug aimed at alleviating the symptoms of Parkinson's disease (PD). MJFF has committed more than $1.2 million toward this effort.
Envoy is developing compounds that target an area of the brain called the indirect pathway, the same pathway targeted in Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS). In the case of DBS, a surgically implanted, battery-operated medical device called a neurostimulator delivers electrical stimulation to the brain to block the abnormal nerve signals that cause tremor and PD symptoms. Envoy is working to identify an oral drug that might target this same area and provide some of the same benefits without requiring invasive surgery. The company will examine whether the drug can be taken alone or if it would need to taken in conjunction with levodopa. As a part of their studies, Envoy will also determine whether these compounds have the potential to limit dyskinesia, the debilitating, uncontrollable movements that are often a side effect of PD drugs.
Envoy’s work is still in the early stages of pre-clinical development; this second funded grant will be used to further validate earlier work, but in more complex models of PD.