Other potential applications: peripheral nerve repair, stroke, MS, SCI
Neuregulins are a class of naturally occurring protein growth factors that have multiple effects on the nervous and cardiovascular systems. Acorda is developing its lead neuregulin candidate, Glial Growth Factor 2 (GGF2) in a number of nervous system and cardiac indications, including heart failure, peripheral nerve damage, stroke, MS and SCI.
GGF2 in Heart Failure
Heart failure is a chronic, progressive condition in which the heart muscle is unable to pump enough blood through the heart to meet the body's need for blood and oxygen. Heart failure results from damage to heart, caused coronary artery disease or from added stress to the heart from other health conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
GGF2 acts directly on heart muscle cells, or cardiomyocytes. It is believed to improve the heart's ability to contract by restoring cardiomyocyte functions that are impaired in disease including cell signaling and metabolism. Preclinical studies demonstrate that GGF2 may also protect the heart structure from acute and chronic stressors.
In December 2012, the Company announced that the first Phase 1 clinical trial in heart failure patients exploring the safety and tolerability of GGF2 was completed. GGF2 may offer a unique treatment strategy, as existing medications for heart failure aim to compensate for the heart's diminished blood pumping ability, but do not directly restore heart muscle function. If proof of concept and safety for treatment of heart failure are established, Acorda may either enter into a partnership with a cardiovascular-focused company or decide to continue to develop GGF2 independently.
GGF2 in Neurological Disorders
In published studies, neuregulins demonstrated a range of effects in neuroprotection and repair of nerve tissues, which have led to promising results in a range of preclinical models of disease and injury to both the central and peripheral nervous systems.
In published preclinical studies, GGF2 has been shown to partially protect the brain from the consequences of stroke and restore motor function with an extremely wide treatment time window of several days. Preclinical data has also shown improvements in function following damage to peripheral nerves. In a preclinical model that simulates nerve damage that occurs with surgical prostatectomy, GGF2 was shown to protect nerves and restore erectile function.