Biotechs grab funds for drugs that cross brain barrier

European biotech NeuroVive and to-BBB technologies have found funds for a novel stroke therapy. Eurostars, a program that funds business activity in Europe, has awarded €500,000 to each of the developers for a treatment that combines Sweden-based NeuroVive's cyclosporin A treatment against neurological damage and The Netherlands-based to-BBB's technology for delivering drugs through the blood-brain barrier.

The companies began work a year ago on the treatment for stroke, the biggest cause of disabilities in Europe, according to the firm's release. NeuroVive already has some clinical experience with its cyclosporin A therapy, which is in late-stage development for treating brain injury and patients who suffer heart attacks. In the stroke program, the drug is carried in to-BBB's pegylated lyposomes that feature targeting ligands to home in on specific sites in the brain.

The blood-brain barrier, which protects the brain from bacteria and other molecules circulating in the blood, is one of the biggest hurdles in the drug-delivery field. And technologies that can slip a payload through the barrier are key to the development of treatments, particularly those that would otherwise get blocked, for a variety of brain diseases such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and ALS.

"NeuroVive's expertise in the area of acute neurological conditions and their leading clinical work with NeuroSTAT in traumatic brain injuries, provides a strong base for this program." Pieter Gaillard, chief scientist of to-BBB, said in a statement. "Since the blood-brain barrier limits drug penetration in stroke patients when they need it most, to-BBB's proprietary G-Technology holds promise to enhance brain delivery of cyclosporin-based pharmaceuticals for this devastating disorder."

- here's the release