As part of the program, the company will discuss its Huntington’s therapy VX15/2503 (VX15). The antibody counters semaphoring 4D (SEMA4D), a molecule that regulates the activation and migration of inflammatory cells in the brain.
Scientists believe SEMA4D plays a role in several processes that contribute to nerve inflammation and degeneration.
By blocking SEMA4D, VX15/2503 prevents the activation of microglia and astrocytes, the brain’s main inflammation-promoting cells. In addition, VX15/2503 allows the differentiation of oligodendrocyte cells, which have the potential to reverse deterioration in the myelin sheath that protects nerve cells.
Studies have shown that VX15/2503 protects against loss of brain volume, prevents spatial memory loss and suppresses anxiety-like behaviors.
Vaccinex is conducting the Phase 2 SIGNAL clinical trial (NCT02481674) to evaluate VX15’s effectiveness and safety, and patients’ ability to tolerate it. The 200 participants are either in the early stage of Huntington’s or are showing signs that they may be developing the disease.
Researchers are in the process of enrolling participants in the study, which is expected to be completed in March 2020.
Vaccinex presented preliminary results of the SIGNAL trial in April 2017. It appeared to preserve patients’ brain structure and metabolic activity, and was safe, researchers said.
The company asked Drs. Ira Shoulson of Georgetown University and Karl Kieburtz of the University of Rochester to discuss Huntington’s patients’ unmet needs and what is happening in research on the disease, according to a press release,
Shoulson founded the Parkinson Study Group at Georgetown in 1985 and the Huntington Study Group in 1994. He was a key investigator in the U.S.-Venezuela Collaborative Huntington Disease Project, which identified the gene responsible for Huntington’s. His biography can be found here.
Kieburtz has been the principal investigator for many clinical trials in Huntington’s, including the first National Institutes of Health-funded multicenter study of the disease. Kieburtz’s biography is here. Both speakers will be available to answer questions after their presentations.
The luncheon is for institutional investors, investment bankers, analysts and business development professionals. Others can watch the live webcast and replays here. You must have an account with Vaccinex to watch it online.