Sanofi has entered into a partnership with the Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) to investigate the safety and tolerability of AVE 8112, a Sanofi phosphodiesterase type 4 (PDE4) inhibitor in patients with Parkinson’s Disease (PD).

Under the collaboration, MJFF will sponsor a Phase Ib clinical trial of AVE8112 in patients with Parkinson’s and the data generated by the trial will be owned by MJFF and shared with Sanofi.

Patient enrolment for the Phase Ib trial will begin across the US in Baltimore, Maryland, and Los Angeles, later this year.

MJFF chief executive officer Todd Sherer said AVE8112 has shown promising pro-cognitive activity in preclinical models that could be of interest to the under-addressed cognitive aspects of Parkinson’s, an area of unmet need where a new treatment could make a difference in patients’ lives.

"Groundbreaking collaborations with like-minded partners such as Sanofi are a hallmark of the Fox Foundation’s approach and help us speed scientific advances with potential to improve the treatment of Parkinson’s for patients today and in the future," Sherer added.

Sanofi global R&D president Elias Zerhouni said that through the research collaboration, Sanofi and the MJFF will be able to study Sanofi’s pharmaceutical compound for a possible new treatment for PD patients round the globe.

"We hope to continue to develop relationships with private foundations like the Michael J. Fox Foundation to pool our resources and maximise the potential of our drug portfolio to address unmet medical needs," Zerhouni added.

Further development plans will be based upon the results of the study.

Parkinson’s is a neurodegenerative disorder caused by the diminished production of dopamine, a key neurotransmitter, resulting in progressive impairment of motor function, including tremors, rigidity and difficulty in moving.