Maxwell Biotech Venture Fund's portfolio company NeuroMax, along with its development partner, Aquilus Pharmaceuticals, has started the Phase I trial of AQU-005 drug to treat chronic neuropathic pain.
AQU-005 is an analgesic drug that acts as a selective inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinase 2 and 9 types (MMP-2 and MMP-9).
The open-label, prospective Phase I trial is designed to measure the safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics profile of AQU-005 in treating chronic neuropathic pain.
It is planning to enrol 24 healthy adult volunteers in Russia.
Aquilus Pharmaceuticals president and CEO Irving Sucholeiki said: "We are very pleased that AQU-005 has moved into clinical development and hope that the positive results that we have observed preclinically will translate into the clinic and ultimately help the millions of people suffering from different types of neuropathic pain."
Studies have indicated that the MMP is instrumental in inflammatory and degenerative processes caused due to nerve damage.
A peripheral nerve injury increases the MMP-2 and MMP-9 levels, which trigger neuron hypersensitivity, demyelination, activation of immune system and increase the permeability of neuronal membranes that causes pain.
AQU-005 selectively targets such MMP-2 and MMP-9 and blocks its generation, thereby limiting the chance of a development of chronic neuropathic pain.
Pre-clinical studies have displayed the efficacy and safety profile of AQU-005 in animal models of neuropathic pain when compared with the gold standard, gabapentin.