SOURCE: Epilepsy Foundation

Epilepsy Foundation

January 08, 2014 10:01 ET

Epilepsy Foundation Awards Second Round of "Epilepsy Innovation Seals of Excellence" to Accelerate New Therapies for People Living With Seizures

BioCrea GmbH and NeuroGate Therapeutics Each Receive SEAL and $25,000 to Foster Continued Development

LANDOVER, MD--(Marketwired - January 08, 2014) - The Epilepsy Foundation, a national organization dedicated to providing services and support to all people living with epilepsy and seizures, has awarded the "Epilepsy Innovation Seal of Excellence" (SEAL) to two companies -- BioCrea GmbH and Neurogate Therapeutics -- who are taking the lead in developing new treatment options that deserve significant and urgent support.

The SEAL is part of the Foundation's mandate to recognize critical advancements in the field of epilepsy. The initiative is designed to facilitate access to funding and resources that will carry the recipient's work through proof of concept and beyond, which typically costs from $1 million to $5 million.

The Epilepsy Foundation's Scientific and Business Advisory Boards give the award after intense scrutiny. The SEAL includes a prize of $25,000 and the privilege of using the Foundation's endorsement to further their fundraising efforts. 

Neurogate Therapeutics is advancing a new class of potential drugs to control seizures. This new therapy is designed to control nerve cell hyperexcitability by carefully merging two classes of drugs. The newly merged class has the potential to provide superior anti-seizures properties and decreased adverse effects.

"These potential drugs exhibited superb anticonvulsant activities in NIH anticonvulsant screening models, and they exhibit at least two mechanisms of action, which studies show are proven pathways for the control of nerve cell hyperexcitability," said Epilepsy Foundation Chief Scientific Officer Roger Porter, MD. "No approved therapy for seizure control possesses this combination of unique mechanisms."

BioCrea GmbH specializes in the creation of new therapies for central nervous system (CNS) diseases. The company is bringing forward new and innovative non-benzodiazepine GABA-A receptor positive allosteric modulators (PAMs) that have the potential to treat uncontrolled seizures.

"Benzodiazepines have long been recognized as highly effective anti-seizure drugs. All currently marketed benzodiazepines have two very limiting drawbacks," said Porter. "First, they can cause cognitive impairment and sedation, and second they show marked tolerance development, which is a decrease in seizure control over weeks and months.

"BioCrea's new and novel PAMs act on a different place on the GABA-A receptor, but act in many ways like ordinary benzodiazepines," continued Porter. "They have the potential to deliver robust anti-seizure activity in a new and safe manner."

Porter added that the BioCrea PAMs showed excellent broad-spectrum efficacy in multiple seizure models, lack both the sedation and the development of tolerance, and has the potential to become a novel, first-in-class drugs suitable for long-term use to treat a broad range of seizure disorders.

"Epilepsy is a spectrum disorder. While many people live with their seizures control, many are also faced with uncontrollable seizures or with treatment that inhibits a good quality of life," said Philip M. Gattone, president and CEO of the Epilepsy Foundation. "We will not rest until treatments are discovered and available to help all people living with seizures live life to their fullest potential."

"These SEAL awards are part of the Epilepsy Foundation's mandate to accelerate pioneering epilepsy research, especially with near-term potential for people living with seizures today," said Warren Lammert, chair of the Epilepsy Foundation. "They are just one of the ways in which the Foundation is assisting in finding resources for critical but expensive innovations." 

The Epilepsy Foundation awards the Epilepsy Innovation Seal of Excellence biannually. Companies, investigators and researchers engaged in product development are encouraged to share for consideration research and product development programs of high merit and proof of concept with the Foundation.

(www.epilepsy.com/etp/seal_of_excellence/about)

About Epilepsy

When a person has two or more unprovoked seizures, they have epilepsy, which affects more than 2 million people in the United States and 65 million people worldwide. This year, another 150,000 people in our country will be diagnosed with epilepsy. Despite all available treatments, four out of 10 people with epilepsy continue to experience uncontrolled seizures while many more experience less than optimal seizure control.

About the Epilepsy Foundation

The Epilepsy Foundation, a national non-profit with 47 affiliated organizations throughout the United States, has led the fight against seizures since 1968. The Foundation is an unwavering ally for individuals and families impacted by epilepsy and seizures. The Foundation works to prevent, control and cure epilepsy through community services; public education; federal and local advocacy; and supporting research into new treatments and therapies. The Foundation works to ensure that people with seizures have the opportunity to live their lives to their fullest potential. For additional information, please visit www.epilepsy.com.

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