4d Pharma (LON: DDDD) will be collaborating with Parkinson’s UK, it announced on Monday, to form a Patient Advisory Board as it moves forward with its cutting-edge clinical trial plans.
Parkinson’s UK is a non-profit organisation that works to advance understanding of the neurological condition, which worsens over time. The organisation will work with 4d on its Patient Advisory Board (“PAB”), comprised of people living with the disease.
Parkinson’s results from the death of nerve cells in the brain that make dopamine, which makes it harder to control movement. It is the fastest-growing neurological condition worldwide, with around 145,000 people in the UK having the disease.
Common Parkinson’s symptoms include tremor, stiffness, slowness of movement, and mild problems with thinking and memory. The disease can also cause depression, pain, and trouble sleeping. In advanced Parkinson’s, symptoms become more complex and have a bigger impact on daily life. At this stage, it may become impossible to wash and dress without assistance.
The PAB will provide a “patient-centric perspective” to 4d as the company works on advancing its Live Biotherapeutics into the clinic as a potential treatment for neurodegenerative conditions like Parkinson’s.
The PAB will also focus on increasing awareness of issues that Parkinson’s patients have with existing treatment options. For example, some patients experience impulsive and compulsive behaviours as a result of medications.
Additionally, drugs might not manage symptoms well in advanced Parkinson’s, and a person’s drug regime is likely to get more complex. As a possible side effect of medications, some patients experience hallucinations, confusion, and anxiety.
4d develops Live Biotherapeutics. These are delivered orally and contain single strains of bacteria that naturally occur in the gut. The company uses its MicroRx platform to identify these potent bacteria and turn them into treatments.
4d’s chief scientific officer, Alex Stevenson, explained that PAB contributions, with support from Parkinson’s UK, are “vital” to the company’s efforts to both develop therapeutics and “promote a dialogue and partnership with the Parkinson’s patient community”.
This will be important in engaging Parkinson’s patients with 4d’s clinical programmes, as it works to take the first Live Biotherapeutic aimed at treating this condition to clinic.
Natasha Ratcliffe, who is research involvement manager at Parkinson’s UK, praised the fact that the PAB will allow “people affected by Parkinson’s to have input into the development of this novel treatment.”
This latest collaboration with Parkinson’s UK builds on 4d’s existing partnership with the Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (“PPMI”), sponsored by the Michael J. Fox Foundation. 4d’s representatives are part of the PPMI Partner Scientific Advisory Board, which is closely involved in designing and executing a “landmark PPMI study”.
The company’s pipeline includes Blautix, where a completed phase 2 trial in irritable bowel syndrome found signs of clinical activity. A phase 1/2 study of its other treatment, MRx0518 – combined with Merck & Co’s (NYSE: MRK) Keytruda – is also ongoing. Part A of the study found a 42% disease control rate in patients with heavily pre-treated solid tumours.
4d is a pioneer when it comes to harnessing bacteria to make medicines, with more than 1,000 patents and its own manufacturing. Last month, the company completed its merger with Longevity Acquisition as well as a private placement raising almost $40 million.
Things are looking bright for this innovative company, which is set to lead the way in the microbiome space.