Licensing arrangement reached for HU antiepileptic drug

Valrocemide was discovered by a team led by Prof. Meir Bialer of the Hebrew University School of Pharmacy.

By JUDY SIEGEL
September 5, 2006 09:33
2 minute read.
meir bialer 88 298

meir bialer 88 298. (photo credit: Courtesy Photo)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

A worldwide licensing arrangement for the development, production and marketing of an antiepileptic drug invented at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has been signed by Shire Pharmaceuticals - a multinational firm with operations in North America, Europe and the Far East - with Yissum, HU's technology transfer company. The efficacy of valrocemide as an antiepileptic drug has been demonstrated in a small clinical study, and Shire intends to study the drug as a candidate for application in a number of central nervous system conditions. Valrocemide was discovered by a team led by Prof. Meir Bialer of the Hebrew University School of Pharmacy. Bialer, a leader in the discovery of antiepileptic agents, has authored over 180 publications in the area of pharmacokinetics, antiepileptics and central nervous system (CNS) drugs. Epilepsy, a widespread neurological disease, affects approximately one percent of the world's population, and sales of antiepileptic drugs in the US alone are more than $3 billion annually. There are several existing drugs on the market for patients with epilepsy. However, about one-third of the patients do not react positively to these treatments and they continue to suffer periodic epileptic seizures. There is a need, therefore, to develop new anti-epileptic drugs that will provide relief to patients who are not seizure-free or who suffer serious side effects from existing drugs. The brain contains amino acids that serve as neurotransmitters, either excitatory or inhibitory neural transmissions within the central nervous system. Epilepsy is caused, among other reasons, by disturbances in the balance between these two functions: a rise in the level of the excitatory amino acids or a reduction in the level of the inhibitory acids. Glycine is one of the inhibitory amino acids, and increasing its concentration in the brain has an antiepileptic effect. However, it is impossible to administer it to patients in its natural state, because it does not penetrate the blood-brain barrier that prevents medications from reaching their CNS target sites. Bialer's research team, which included his former doctoral student, Dr. Salim Hadad, worked to develop a glycine derivative that would penetrate the blood-brain barrier and would subsequently be cleared out of the body by a pre-designed elimination pathway in order to avoid undesirable side effects, which may be caused by toxic metabolic substances (metabolites). Valrocemide is a combination of a known antiepileptic drug, valproic acid, and a glycine derivative, glycinamide. The new drug has been shown to be one of the most effective drugs among a large, analogous series of molecules that have been developed in Bialer's laboratory.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

The Teva Pharmaceutical Industries
April 30, 2015
Teva doubles down on Mylan, despite rejection

By GLOBES, NIV ELIS