Vesper Bio awarded grant by The Michael J. Fox Foundation to assess sortilin inhibitors in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Jan. 23, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Vesper Bio ApS (“Vesper” or “the Company”), a clinical stage biotech and world leader in sortilin receptor biology, today announces that the Company has been awarded a grant (MJFF-024128) worth c.US$873,000 by The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) to assess sortilin inhibition in Parkinson’s disease. The project will commence in January 2024 and is led by principal investigators Louise Klem (Senior Research Scientist) and Anders Nykjær (CSO and Founder).

The grant was awarded under the MJFF’s Parkinson’s Disease Therapeutics Pipeline Program (Pre-Clinical). The program seeks to advance preclinical testing of promising therapeutic developments that address unmet medical needs in people with Parkinson’s disease. The program is set up to fund therapeutic development with a clear focus to prevent, stop, or delay disease progression or to reduce the challenges of daily symptoms.

Vesper is currently expediting the development of VES001 for FTD(GRN) through ongoing Phase I studies that will include a Phase Ib Proof-of Concept in GRN mutation carriers in advance of potentially registrational Phase II/III trials, and for Phase I readiness of VES002, a treatment focused on a second central nervous system indication.

Anders Nykjaer, MD, PhD Chief Scientific Officer of Vesper Bio, commented, “Vesper has developed orally administered, small molecule, sortilin inhibitors that elevate central progranulin levels and these hold promise for treating certain CNS diseases, including Parkinson’s disease. This grant by The Michael J. Fox Foundation’s Parkinson’s Disease Therapeutics Pipeline Program will support our research as we look to further demonstrate the efficacy of this novel therapy against this terrible disease.”

Jessica Tome Garcia, PhD, Associate Director, Translational Research at MJFF, said, “MJFF greatly values research into the biological underpinnings of Parkinson’s disease and leveraging that insight for new treatment ideas. We are proud to fund the work of researchers at Vesper Bio as they investigate new ways to fulfil the unmet needs of people with Parkinson’s.”

About Vesper Bio

Vesper is a clinical stage biotech and world leader in sortilin receptor biology. Its lead program uses a sortilin inhibitor to rebalance levels of progranulin in patients where the sortilin receptor would otherwise reduce circulating and extracellular progranulin, contributing to disease. Progranulin is a protein that the body uses to regulate cell growth, survival, repair and avoid inflammation. Low progranulin levels are believed to be a factor in cell dysfunction and damage in a range of indications across neurology. By normalizing progranulin levels, Vesper believes its compounds will have a disease modifying effect, protecting and preserving the remaining cells.

Its lead compound, VES001, is a patient friendly, first-in-class, brain penetrant, oral treatment which targets progranulin deficiency, a major underlying cause of Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD). As an orally delivered small molecule, VES001 is able to cross the blood brain barrier and is an ideal dosing method among these patients due to their rapidly declining mental state.

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