CHICAGO – August 14, 2018 – Biopharmaceutical company Emalex Biosciences (Emalex), the newest member of the Paragon Biosciences (Paragon) portfolio of companies, today announced it acquired Psyadon Pharmaceuticals and the exclusive rights to develop, register and market ecopipam, a new chemical entity with orphan drug designation for the treatment of pediatric Tourette Syndrome (TS) in patients under 16 years of age.
Ecopipam is a potent, selective antagonist of the human D1 receptor family being developed for the treatment of pediatric TS. TS is a childhood-onset neurodevelopmental condition, characterized by motor and vocal tics, for which there exists an unmet need for new therapies.
Dopamine “D1” antagonism represents a novel approach to reducing the severity of symptoms in children with TS. Dopamine D1 receptor super-sensitivity may be a mechanism for the repetitive and compulsive behaviors associated with this disease.
Emalex will be led by CEO Eric Messner, a veteran pharmaceutical executive and entrepreneur with experience in the development and commercialization of treatments for rare and orphan diseases.
“The Tourette’s patient community needs new, safe and effective treatments for children. We’re inspired by the tenacity of these children, and their parents and caregivers,” Messner said. “We want to thank Dr. Richard Chipkin and the team at Psyadon for their early development work. Emalex is excited to move this work forward and is uniquely positioned to bring ecopipam to market with the support of our partners at Paragon.”
Early phase 2 studies of ecopipam, conducted by Psyadon, support the continued development for pediatric TS. Emalex will initiate a larger clinical study of ecopipam in approximately 150 pediatric TS patients in early 2019, with results expected in 2020.
“This new treatment provides hope for pediatric patients with TS and their families in working to reduce both their vocal and motor tics,” said Amanda Talty, CEO of the Tourette Association of America. “We are proud to have provided the initial seed funding to support the work that Emalex is doing to improve the lives of those affected by Tourette Syndrome and other Tic Disorders.”
“Paragon’s focus is to accelerate medical breakthroughs where patient need is critical, yet current treatment options are inadequate. Emalex is a key addition to our portfolio companies,” said Jeff Aronin, chairman and CEO of Paragon Biosciences.