Biotechnology startup developing remedy to reduce Parkinson’s disease drug side effects

scientist drug research labA drug developer believes it has a treatment that could limit the side effects of L-Dopa. A New Jersey foundation’s venture investment arm has allocated $500,000 for the new company towards advancing its research.

MentiNova’s oral drug would curb dyskenesia the involuntary movements caused by long-term use of levodopa, or L-Dopa, a drug taken by many of the 1 million people with the condition. Parkinson’s disease, a degenerative disease of the central nervous symptom, kills cells in the brain that generate dopamine which control motor function. The reason why this happens with LDopa and drugs like it is that they intermittently deliver dopamine, and that causes peaks and valleys in dopamine levels that can influence changes in motor function.

L-Dopa has been a dominant drug for Parkinson’s disease because it has been found to be the most efficacious.

Dr. M. Maral Mouradian, a co-founder of the company, is a professor of neurology and director of the Center for Neurodegenerative and Neuroimmunologic Diseases at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Piscataway, NJ. By the company’s reckoning, dyskenesia related to L-Dopa affects 60 percent to 80 percent of the patients taking LDopa.


Foundation Venture Capital Group CEO George F. Heinrich noted that because  the drug has already been approved for another indication, that could speed up the IND filing for the treatment.

MentiNova isn’t the only company developing a treatment in this area. Serina Therapeutics in Huntsville, Alabama has developed a once-weekly injected drug that would alleviate motor complications. Impax Laboratories recenty suffered a setback with its extended release treatment to prevent spasms in patients after it received a complete response letter from the US Food and Drug Administration.



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