Avicena's Huntington's Disease Drug Candidate Selected In Top 100

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Huntington's Disease Drug

Avicena Group, Inc. announced that the pharmaceutical magazine R&D Directions selected Avicena's lead Huntington's disease drug candidate, HD-02, as one of the "100 Great Investigational Drugs of 2007" in the March issue.

R&D Directions included HD-02 in the "100 Great Investigational Drugs 2007" list based on the drug candidate's potential to address a major medical need in a growing therapeutic area. In previous preclinical studies, HD-02 demonstrated a significantly improved survival rate and a reduction in the rate of brain atrophy. In clinical studies, HD-02 has demonstrated the ability to significantly reduce levels of the Huntington's disease marker as well as to slow the rate of disease progression. Avicena plans to initiate a Phase III trial with HD-02 early 2008.

"We are excited that R&D Directions has recognized our efforts to develop HD-02," stated Belinda Tsao-Nivaggioli, Avicena's chief executive officer. "We believe that HD-02 represents a significant opportunity to bring an effective treatment to a disease area that currently has no FDA approved treatment options available."

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HD-02 is novel drug candidate for the treatment of Huntington's disease (HD) with orphan drug designation in the U.S. Avicena has recently completed a Phase II clinical study of HD-02 led by Dr. Steven Hersch of Massachusetts General Hospital. Results from this study, which were published in the journal Neurology, showed that HD-02 reduced the Huntington's disease marker, which some researchers have linked to reduced brain injury. Further, HD-02 was shown to slow the rate of disease progression.

In preclinical studies performed by Dr. Flint Beal of Cornell Medical Center, HD-02 has shown significant neuroprotective effects such as improved motor movement and increased survival rate.

HD is a progressive neurodegenerative disease caused by a defective gene that is often inherited from parent to child. This genetic defect causes a programmed deterioration of neurons in those parts of the brain that are responsible for controlling cognitive, emotional and motor functions. This progressive deterioration results in a variety of symptoms including uncontrolled muscle movement, loss of intellectual capacity, and severe emotional disturbances.

Approximately 35,000 people in the US suffer from Huntington's disease. It is estimated that an additional 250,000 Americans carry the Huntington's gene and will develop this deadly disease sometime during their lifetime.

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