Tuesday, 24 February 2015

TeamG Research from Idea to MSers

#MSResearch #MSBlog. TeamG & Friends develop new MS drug for #spasticity


Many blog sites get conned into doing advertising for Company X or Company Y following press releases by announcing that Company X or Company Y, will start trials in MS as soon as they have financing, hoping for some more shareholder investment.

So now is the time to make a company pitch, but we are not after your money, but we will be after your help!

We do not generally make Pharma Plugs, but as this the culmination, so far, of our research, it is time to blow the premature trumpet following a recent press release.







In 2001/2002, whilst at University College London (UCL) we (MD/MD2) started a project with some UCL chemists (led by Prof. Dave Selwood) to make a symptom control drug that does not have the side effects of current anti-spastic drugs. We have generated one that works in animals, as well as other anti-spastic drugs, but does not appear to have their sedative side effects. 


In 2005 we spun out a virtual company (Canbex therapeutics) to manage and develop the drug, no staff just extra work. Through a lot of help from venture arms of Charities we have moved it forward, bit by bit, helped by discoveries made at Queen Mary University of London and elsewhere and with the help of ProfG. We took on a business management team (Click) and in 2013 we finished our animal safety studies. In 2014 we completed our double-blind phase I safety tests in humans (80 volunteers at a phase I testing centre linked to Kings College London) with a solid green light that showed the drug was tolerable and safe. 

Today, we have received the necessary investment from a company, which makes anti-spastic drugs, that will allow us to bring this drug to people with MS. Ipsen will then have the option to acquire Canbex for subsequent development. 


In the next few weeks/months we will be ready to start phase II studies in spasticity in MS. If you are eligible we hope you will consider volunteering for the trial.

We haven't had the money to pay for a wacky name, like QmucleonTM, (apparently this can cost pharma between $1000,000-$700,000) at present it is simply the sixteenth drug that Cristina Visintin made....called VSN16.

To give you an idea about this drug, as the work is unpublished, so far:


(a) It is a pill (currently in a capsule) 

(b) It appears to be safe and tolerable (so far CLICK)
(c) It has a new mechanism of action (which we know)
(d) It is TeamG research Bench to Bedside.


Spasticity is a problem that often starts early in MS, but doesn't really get treated until spasticity is more advanced because of side effects, we want to plug that gap and replace current meds. 

We have a novel rapid trial design planned, after which time the project will be a success and we will need longer studies or it will have failed. Results early 2016, provided we get enough volunteers. We will be looking to recruit soon (a couple of months). If you are eligible (to be announced), we hope you can help.

Some of you don't like the personal stuff, so switch off now.

You asked about breakthroughs for this year, is this one? (To us it really seems like one, Very few academic scientists ever get a treatment to humans and even fewer are on board for the whole voyage ).......but is it a breakthrough? no, not yet (until we know if it works), but to all those who like to say we don't do any useful research....it is time to respond and I would like to say.......Ouch:)......slapped wrist:-)......the tortoise with no legs is on the move and has seen off a couple of hares already!


The wheels may come off, but at least we are trying:-). really


CoI: Members of TeamG are founders and Shareholders of Canbex



Special thanks to
  1. FastForward (NMSS-USA) who had the faith to help us cross the "Valley of Death"
  2. The Wellcome trust, TSB/Innovate UK, UCLb, MS ventures & Esparante Ventures made the Phase I and Phase II planning possible.
  3. The new Ipsen pharmaceuticals deal will make the Phase II study in MS a reality.

45 comments:

  1. Good luck, I hope the years of work pays off!

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  2. As Del Boy (Prof G) said to Rodney (Prof M) - we'll be millions. I better invest in beer companies and heavy metal record labels for when you hit the big time. Prof G can give his countryman Berlosconi a run for his money.

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  3. Yes well done :)

    Is this what the white knight posts were about?

    Looking forward to the results in 2016.

    Doc, is anyone working on any meds to help with cognitive/memory problems?

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    1. Is this what white knights is about? No...so more exciting news (hopefully) to come....

      Are people working on memory problems....there are loads of researchers working on memory but we currently do not work on the basic science side of memory

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    2. MDs and co. good luck from me as well.

      Since you're at it - how about looking into the balance problems/vertigo? There is virtually nothing worth of taking and it is an awful condition.

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    3. I've been trying to decipher what this whole White Knight thing coudl be, with the help of Google. Am I close? :-)

      http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=White+Knight+Syndrome&defid=7488014

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    4. White knight syndome
      A fairly common condition generally affecting males, White Knight Syndrome encompasses a wide range of behaviour related to "saving a damsel in distress". Almost always found near to or with Attention Whores, men affected by White Knight Syndrome are men who feel the need to protect, provide attention and affection, be viewed as "heroic", boost their ego, and generally feel good about themselves (usually because they have low self-esteem, or a small penis, or both).Men with White Knight Syndrome are invariably attracted to Attention Whores or Problem Women (a sub-genre of the Attention Whore, the Problem Woman craves male attention and uses her often self-inflicted "problems" to attract the White Knight) because such women can cater to the White Knight's needs and vice versa--very much like the symbiotic relationship of bacteria and fungus in lichen. Men affected with White Knight Syndrome will spend long hours cuddling such women and giving them large amounts of attention and affection, sometimes struggling to hide their erections because the ego-boost feels so great. The male affected with White Knight Syndrome ends up in a position similar to the friend zone, but this does not matter to him--he's being a good guy by offering an Attention Whore more attention.

      I would keep searching:-)

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  4. If the drug makes it to market, will you and MD2 be retiring from the blog to live in a large solid gold mansion, counting your billions?! :-)

    On a serious note, good luck.

    Can you find the cure next please?

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    1. Rest assured that neither me nor MD will be retiring! We've got lots of other really exciting work in the pipeline.
      Not bad for an idea we had in the pub more than ten years ago!
      News such as today's rather gives the lie to some commenters here who think we waste our time on meaningless research. This should be just the first in a series of positive steps forward for MSers from Team G this year.
      We're incredibly proud we've managed to achieve getting a new drug this far, as stated above it is incredibly rare for basic scientists to achieve this and we're really grateful to all the funders who have made this possible.
      Now lets hope the drug really helps in MSers in the Phase II trial.

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    2. Maybe celebrate when you have got this on the market? why should we celebrate this news- it means nothing for us at the moment

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    3. Please refer to my comment below and understand why this is such a big deal for basic scientists. ;-)

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    4. but what if it goes the way of cladribine?

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    5. Cladribine has not gone away; it is simply a sleep. Have you heard of Lazarus drugs?

      http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/41980/title/Lazarus-Drugs/

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    6. if you fear failure you never will try anything.
      The charcot may fail the opticneurits may fail proximus may fail should we stop now?

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    7. I can't remember which film this quote is from but "failure is not an option".

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    8. I've always liked this quote. Sums up being a scientist.
      "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better."

      Samuel Beckett

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    9. MD2 I've got a good quote for you all in search for the cause of MS directly from Sherlock Holmes;

      "whatever is left however improbable must be the cause"

      don't forget this line the next time you think for a solution

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  5. Very well done. Will it be available for non MS people. I have spasticity from a spinal cord lesion not caused by MS (although jury in out on that). My spasticity i mainly stiffness and not spasms will it target that so that I can bend my joints better.

    Thanks and well done

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  6. What about intention tremors? I going through this symptom with the relapse I am currently having.

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  7. Ten years and you're only at Phase 1? Tell us when you get there.

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    1. I suppose it was only a matter of time before the snarkiness began.
      Yes, it has been 10 years to get this far on a wing and a prayer in the early days. This is because of the obstacles in obtaining funding for this sort of work if you're not big pharma. In fact with a modest amount of funding from generous supporters (around £4m) we have managed to get through extensive preclinical studies, toxicology and phase I to confirm safety in humans. Rather less than would be the case with pharma. I would have thought that should be applauded, apparently not.
      If it makes any difference to you, this announcement means that phase IIa can commence very quickly, so the results should be known soon.
      Rest assured we will tell you when we get there ;-)

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    2. MD2 - celebrate and ignore negative voices - I'm happy for you and all of us, and I don't even have so much spasticity!!!!!

      I trust that the drug will be an option without the usual zombie effect - that's a massive step forward!

      You can't be blamed for red tape formal procedures - WELL DONE so far.

      I hope we can solve the main problem though and SOON - what is the cause for MS. The is still the main thing because once the scrouge sets in motion there is just too many factors.

      Be persistent with the Charcot project as well as finding fianance for simavastatin.

      Good luck.

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    3. This should have been flagged up as a GOOD NEWS. I have been one if the negative posters (blame the MS). Glad to see this story. Hope more good news from Team G is on its way. Any hint as to when the next good news story will surface?

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    4. Ignore the naysayers, it is a big thing to celebrate, know this and remember 'sticks and stones ..., etc'. I'm not a scientist but have worked on/project managed enough complex long-term projects to appreciate the difficulties involved. It's too easy to trample on others in this great age of social media, and too bloody easy to react, especially when you've worked long hours and gone through all the trials/tribulations and anxiety. Be proud of your achievements:)

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    5. "Any hint as to when the next good news story will surface?"
      Should be soon. Can't say more as I'm sworn to secrecy!
      Thanks for the kind comments everyone, it's you that keeps us motivated to keep things moving forward.

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    6. You and Big Mouse are like burlesque strippers - teasing your audience with hints of good news arriving soon. Time to cast off your knickers and bras and give us what we want - what news is coming.?

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    7. That's an image I won't be able to get out of my head now. Now I'm off to get out of my head ;-)
      You'll just have to keep checking in for the next good news I'm afraid. Announcing it here before it's announced elsewhere/published is a huge no no as I'm sure you'll understand.

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    8. I've always assumed MD2 is a male. No sexism intended by the stripper comment. I'm heading to Whitechapel to locate Big Mouse and his sidekick in the local pub. I will buy Little Mouse as much alcohol it takes to get him/her in a position where they spill the beans.

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  8. Good luck with it. Hope your perseverance and hard work pays off.

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  9. Yes I posted the tortoise post. Yes I frequently comment on the need to clean out your mice and the frequency of your visits to the pub with MD2. Yes I've made comments on the lack of progress made by Team G. I apologise - looks like you were doing a bit of work after all. I may volunteer for the trial. I wish you the best of luck. When you you start receiving all those royalties, put a little aside for the little mice who have helped you so much eg an extra piece of cheese for their lunch.

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    1. Thanks for that! Your comments give me a laugh. We actually got the idea in the pub but remembered to write it down on the back of a beer mat!
      Rest assured the meeces will be receiving the finest matured gorgonzola as a first priority.

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    2. Many great ideas are born in the pub, unfortunately the next day they are soon forgotten :-) Canbex? is the molecule a derivative of a cannabis extract?

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    3. No nothing to do with cannabis, or cannabis extract

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  10. welldone you deserve a few beers. Now to the cure and pick up a noble prize or 2 ;)

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  11. why is this team G? surely it's team MD on this one!

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    1. Nope Team work......ProfG was great when we did a Dragons Den as we move further into clinical trial land, it moves away from our skill set

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  12. Well done and thanks for persevering but promise you won't take up the burlesque suggestion! The mind's eye boggles...!

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  13. Late to the party, but Very Well Done!
    So happy about this, & keeping my fingers crossed for the next stage

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