Metamorphoses of Ovid
How Ovid will work with patients to repurpose drugs for rare brain disease
Neurology company Ovid Therapeutics Inc. is already tapping into the expertise of its new CEO, veteran dealmaker Jeremy Levin. The biotech is in-licensing molecules that have reached Phase III testing but are not approved in the U.S., and where there is a mechanism-based rationale for development in rare and Orphan diseases of the brain.
Hardly the first company to attempt to repurpose failed drugs, Ovid may have an ace up its sleeve in the form of extremely close ties to patients and their families, who will have a role in shaping development of the company's drug candidates.
Ovid's first deal, announced Thursday, brings in a candidate from H. Lundbeck A/S that is slated to enter Phase II in 2016 to treat Angelman syndrome and Fragile X. The deal includes exclusive, worldwide rights to gaboxadol, a selective extrasynaptic GABA A receptor agonist that Lundbeck and former partner Merck & Co. Inc. had taken through Phase III testing for insomnia.
In that setting, a combination of the U.S. regulatory requirements for demonstrating the lack of abuse potential and the pharmacokinetics of gaboxadol scuttled both the development program and the partnership. But according to Ovid, the PK problem that dogged the compound in the sleep setting will not be an issue in Angelman and Fragile X, where lower doses and lower peak concentrations are desired.
Angelman is a rare genetic disorder that is characterized by