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Ampel BioSolutions Identifies Novel Lupus Treatments And Targets

Wednesday, November 26, 2014  
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Virginia researchers and founders of AMPEL BioSolutions, Drs. Amrie Grammer and Peter Lipsky delivered the results of a year-long Lupus Drug Repositioning Initiative this week in Boston. The Alliance for Lupus Research (ALR), the Lupus Research Institute (LRI) and AMPEL gathered with scientists at a key meeting of the American College of Rheumatology to launch the Lupus Clinical Investigators Network (LuCIN) of the LRxL-STAT Lupus Drug Repositioning Initiative.

LRxL-STAT evaluates existing FDA approved synthetic and natural compounds originally targeted at other diseases for new usage by lupus patients. Lupus is an autoimmune disorder that causes symptoms very similar to other pathologies, allowing drugs to be repositioned. LRxL-STAT announces the clinical testing of naturally-derived Krill oil treatment, Janssen’s Stelara (originally used for psoriasis), and Kadmon’s KD025 (also originally a psoriasis treatment). In addition, trials of Quinacrine (a well-established drug with broad medical applications) and stem cell transplantation are being considered. LuCIN, which is comprised of over 50 academic lupus centers representing all geographic regions of the US, will conduct clinical trials in close consultation with lupus patient groups, with international efforts beginning in early 2015.

This announcement comes only a year after the ALR and LRI announced their cooperative project to speed up the identification and availability of new treatments for lupus patients. The need is urgent since GSK’s Benlysta is the only treatment approved by the FDA in fifty years and standard-of-care treatments have serious side effects. Drug Repositioning is important, since it can be used to quickly bring treatments to patients whose side effects and mechanism of action are well-characterized. Typical drug development takes about 10-15 years and 1.5 billion dollars.

LR and LRI’s Lupus Drug Repositioning Initiative began with community suggestions for potential treatments in conjunction with a diligent and thorough search of the world’s literature for appropriate drugs by AMPEL BioSolutions. Drs. Grammer and Lipsky performed evidence-based analysis on each potential lupus therapy using the CoLT, or Combined Lupus Treatment, scoring system that incorporates rationale, pre-clinical/clinical experience, drug properties and safety profile. Proof-of-concept trials conducted by LuCIN will be small, focused and biomarker-rich. The first lupus drug repositioning trials will begin by the second quarter of 2015.

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