- GDNF (glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor) protein has potential therapeutic utility in Parkinson’s disease (PD) because of its ability to support the survival of different types of brain cells. Pfizer is buying exclusive worldwide rights to GDNF and the related delivery system, convection enhanced delivery (CED).
- MedGenesis has conducted a series of successful preclinical tests that show that GDNF has disease-modifying efficacy in PD based on the ability of this factor to offer neuroprotection and improved motor function.
- Two phase I studies did well, but one phase II study failed. MedGenesis attributed the failure to poor drug delivery to target tissue.
When the negative phase II results were disclosed, GDNF research was abandoned for years. However, Parkinson’s UK decided to fund continued research.
Now, Pfizer has decided to option the rights to market GDNF and CED -- and in the process provided much-needed cash for the undertaking, not to mention an important vote of confidence.