Epilepsy Foundation Awards $300,000 in Grants Supporting Novel Treatment Approaches
As part of their Epilepsy Therapy Project, the goal of which is to advance innovation in epilepsy and seizure treatment in a timely manner, The Epilepsy Foundation has awarded 2 grants to support commercialization of novel therapeutic approaches. The grants are awarded to researchers who applied in partnership with companies that are providing matching funds. The goal of the New Therapy Commercialization grants program is to accelerate development of new therapies for people living with poorly controlled seizures, estimated to be 30-40% of all people living with epilepsy.
Grant recipient Matthew Gentry, PhD, professor at the University of Kentucky works on preclinical testing of a potential treatment for Lafora disease, a rare and progressive epilepsy and glycogen-storage disease. The compound, (VAL-1221, Valerion Therapeutics, Concord, MA) is being studied in clinical trials for treatment of another glycogen-storage disease, Pompe syndrome. Greg Worrell MD, PhD, professor of neurology and chair of clinical neurophysiology at Mayo Clinic received the second grant for work with Cadence Neuroscience (Sammamish, WA) on a protocol that tests multiple neurostimulation protocols during evaluation for epilepsy surgery. It is hoped that this can help fine-tune neurostimulation therapy to an individual to enhance and improve the seizure control that is achieved with neurostimulation.
After extensive review, grant awardees are chosen based upon the potential likelihood of successful drug development, regulatory approval, timeframe, and value to people with epilepsy. Previous grants from the New Therapy Commercialization program of The Epilepsy Foundation have led to development of a trigeminal nerve stimulation system, approved in Europe to treat depression and epilepsy, and to development and commercialization of cannabidiol (Epidiolex, GW Phama, Carlsbad,CA) approved for treatment of Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome epilepsies in 2018.
Applications for the next cycle of grants can be made at epilepsy.com/researchgrants and letters of intent are due on January 28, 2019.
"Every day, millions of people across the world lose seconds, minutes or hours of their lives to seizures and these precious moments can never be regained," said Sonya Dumanis, PhD, senior director of innovation at the Epilepsy Foundation. “That's why our New Therapy Commercialization Grants Program funds research that has the potential to discover new treatment options, and ultimately cures. Our focus is to encourage innovation and foster entrepreneurship in order to get new therapies to market faster for people living with epilepsy."