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Foundation Venture Capital Group Invests In Start-Up Working to Reduce Side Effects of Parkinson's Treatment
Date:1/25/2013

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J., Jan. 25, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Parkinson's disease affects one million people in the United States and seven million worldwide. While L-Dopa is effective in treating the disease symptoms, the vast majority of patients taking it chronically eventually develop L-Dopa Induced Dyskinesia (LID), abnormal involuntary movements that can be disabling.

A new company, MentiNova, Inc., is exploring an oral medication that could reduce these uncontrollable, often chaotic movements in patients being treated with L-Dopa.  Foundation Venture Capital Group (FVCG), a New Jersey Health Foundation affiliate, has committed up to $500,000 to advance this research and development. 

According to James M. Golubieski , president of FVCG, the investment in MentiNova will allow the company to advance the status of its IND (Investigational New Drug) filing with the FDA and to perform clinical trials testing the efficacy of the treatment.

Dr. M. Maral Mouradian , the William Dow Lovett Professor of Neurology and Director of the Center for Neurodegenerative and Neuroimmunologic Diseases at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Piscataway, NJ, is a co-founder of the company.

Dr. Mouradian said MentiNova's focus at this time is to use a drug that is currently clinically approved and repurpose it for the treatment of LID in patients with Parkinson's disease.

"Once we can prove positive results for using this medication for patients with Parkinson's disease suffering from L-Dopa Induced Dyskinesia, we hope to be able to test it for expanded usage in patients with other conditions that are characterized by involuntary movements such as Tourette's syndrome, Huntington's disease and Tardive Dyskinesia," said Dr. Mouradian.

Research to date has already provided in-vivo proof of principle data.

"We are very interested in this research because at this point it appears to have promising results," said Dr. George F. Heinrich , vice chair and CEO of Foundation Venture.  "We anticipate a fast IND filing and clinical trial process since the drug has already been FDA approved for another indication. This could make a tremendous difference in the quality of life for many patients who currently suffer from L-Dopa Induced Dyskinesia."

For more information, contact James M. Golubieski , president of FVCG, at (908) 731-6601 or at jgolubieski@njhf.org.

About Foundation Venture Capital Group
Foundation Venture Capital Group, an affiliate of New Jersey Health Foundation, invests in commercially viable new start-up companies developing technology by faculty at or affiliated with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.  In addition to MentiNova, other FVCG portfolio companies include: 

  • Actinobac Biomed Inc., developing a therapeutic agent targeting blood cells for the treatment of hematological malignancies;
  • Affineti Biologics, advancing research in the development of therapeutic and diagnostic products based on new discoveries in oral biology and dental medicine;
  • CellXplore, Inc., engaged in the development of biomarker-based in vitro diagnostic assays for cancer;
  • Celvive, Inc., working to develop technology to treat patients with chronic spinal cord injuries with their own adult stem cells;
  • Durin Technologies, Inc., working to develop a blood test to diagnose Alzheimer's disease;
  • GeneAssess, Inc., a company developing a diagnostic tool for more accurate breast cancer staging;
  • Longevica Pharmaceuticals, Inc., developing a chemoprotective agent that may keep normal cells healthy during cancer treatments (FVCG's equity interest in Longevica was sold to Rostock International, LTD, a subsidiary of a Moscow (Russia) based global investment firm);
  • Snowdon Pharmaceuticals, a drug discovery company focused on several major therapeutic areas.


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SOURCE New Jersey Health Foundation
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