VANCOUVER, British Columbia, July 18, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- NervGen Pharma Corp. (“NervGen”), in Vancouver, and Case Western Reserve University (“Case Western Reserve”) in Cleveland have entered into an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement to research, develop and commercialize a patented technology with potential to bring new therapies for spinal cord injury and other conditions associated with nerve damage.

The technology was developed in the laboratory of Dr. Jerry Silver, a leading spinal cord injury and regenerative medicine researcher at Case Western Reserve. Dr. Silver’s research has implicated protein tyrosine phosphatase sigma (PTPs) as a key neural receptor which inhibits nerve regeneration through regions of scarring in spinal cord injury and other medical conditions.

Targeted treatment against PTPs with an agent known as ISP promoted regeneration of damaged nerves and functional improvement in animal models for various medical conditions. A series of receptor antagonists that can be delivered systemically have been identified including an analogue of ISP that is ready for clinical development.

NervGen plans to advance this ISP analogue into the clinic for the treatment of spinal cord injury while leveraging the technology to identify additional therapeutic candidates for other related medical conditions such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, peripheral nerve injury and heart attack. 

“We are extremely excited to be advancing this important nerve regeneration technology as there is currently no approved therapy known to enhance nerve regrowth in patients suffering from nerve damage,” said Dr. Ernest Wong, CEO of NervGen. “The functional recovery observed in animal models is unprecedented and consistent across multiple preclinical models in several independent university laboratories.”

“We are very excited to work with NervGen to drive our PTPs program towards clinical testing as it holds the possibility of improving the lives of millions of spinal cord injury patients,” said Dr. Silver, co-inventor and Professor of Neurosciences at Case Western Reserve’s School of Medicine.

As a widely acknowledged, world authority on nerve regeneration, particularly in relation to spinal cord injury, Dr. Silver has received numerous recognitions including the Christopher Reeve-Joan Irvine Research Medal and the Jacob Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award for significant accomplishments in the area of spinal cord injury.

As NervGen advances its lead candidate through clinical development, it will continue to collaborate with Dr. Silver and his co-inventor, Dr. Brad Lang, an executive-in-residence at BioEnterprise in Cleveland, Ohio, as advisors to advance the technology and science.

Translational research support for this project came from Case Western Reserve’s Council to Advance Human Health, the Ohio Third Frontier Technology Validation and Start-up Fund, and the Case-Coulter Translational Research Partnership.  In addition, the National Institutes of Health’s Center for Accelerated Innovations at Cleveland Clinic provided support for related work directed toward cardiac applications.

The license agreement also includes technologies co-developed with Oregon Health & Science University, Ohio State University and Hong Kong University.

ABOUT NERVGEN PHARMA CORP.

NervGen is a regenerative medicine company dedicated to restoring life's potential by creating innovative solutions for the treatment of nerve damage.  NervGen’s core technology focuses on the protein tyrosine phosphatase sigma (PTPσ), a key neural receptor that inhibits nerve regeneration resulting in a loss of function in patients with spinal cord injury and other medical conditions.  Inhibition of the PTPσ receptor has been shown to promote regeneration of damaged nerves and improvement of nerve function in animal models for various medical conditions.  NervGen is advancing a drug candidate into the clinic initially for the treatment of spinal cord injury while exploiting the technology to identify additional therapeutic candidates for other related medical conditions.

ABOUT CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY

Case Western Reserve University is one of the country's leading private research institutions. Located in Cleveland, we offer a unique combination of forward-thinking educational opportunities in an inspiring cultural setting. Our leading-edge faculty engage in teaching and research in a collaborative, hands-on environment. Our nationally recognized programs include arts and sciences, dental medicine, engineering, law, management, medicine, nursing and social work. About 5,100 undergraduate and 6,200 graduate students comprise our student body. Visit case.edu to see how Case Western Reserve thinks beyond the possible.

ABOUT THE NERVOUS SYSTEM

The nervous system is the body’s command center, a complex network of cells and nerves that controls movement, thoughts, senses, heartbeat, breathing and numerous other body functions vital to living.

Nerve damage, from loss of sensation to paralysis, occurs with physical traumas such as car accidents and combat injuries. It also occurs with multiple sclerosis, heart attack induced arrythmia, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke and other diseases and traumas in which the nerves are damaged. Millions of individuals are affected globally and hundreds of billions of healthcare dollars are spent to manage medical conditions arising from nerve injury.  There are currently no drugs available to regenerate injured nerves and allow the individual to regain or improve key bodily functions.

ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD

Dr. Ernest Wong, President & CEO

For further information, please contact:

Dr. Ernest Wong, President & CEO
ewong@nervgenpharma.com

Bill Radvak, Executive Chairman
bradvak@nervgenpharma.com