Acceleration of Clinical Program in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Confirms the Proof of Efficacy Data Obtained in Animals

PARIS, Nov. 6, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- AB Science SA (NYSE Euronext - FR0010557264 - AB), a pharmaceutical company specialized in research, development and marketing of protein kinase inhibitors (PKIs), announces, following the press release from November 4th, that the acceleration of the clinical development program in ALS is in line with proof of efficacy experiments conducted in two different models that generated positive results of increased survival.

Two different animal experiments were conducted by Dr. Luis Barbeito from the Institut Pasteur de Montevideo (Uruguay) and by Dr. Patricia Cassina from the Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de la República, Montevideo.

One experiment was aimed at evaluation the effect of masitinib in mice models of ALS (SOD1G93A female mice). Treatment started at 90 days-old animals before symptoms onset and continued until complete paralysis. Assessments were performed at 12 weeks (baseline) and weekly until end stage of paralysis (18-20 weeks). Administration of masitinib significantly delayed age of symptoms onset, improved grip strength and weight loss compared to control animals.

Other experiment was aimed at evaluating the effect of masitinib in a transgenic rat model of ALS (SOD1G93A rats). These rats develop a motor syndrome with symptoms and pathological features of the human disease. Animals were observed weekly for onset of disease symptoms, as well as disease progression to death during 12 weeks of treatment. Compared to control, masitinib prolonged the survival of ALS rats, delaying the progression of paralytic symptoms and weight loss, suggesting a protective effect of masitinib in motor neuron diseases.

Dr Luis Barbeito explained "Because masitinib can modulate inflammation, there is a scientific rationale to evaluate masitinib in the treatment of ALS. The results from the preclinical experiments are encouraging considering that there is no treatment available to ALS other than riluzole which delays death only few months in humans. Preliminary data indicate that masitinib target glial cells that promote ALS progression. Thus, the positive results showed in the mouse and rat trials raise the possibility that masitinib might offer therapeutic benefits in ALS patients, slowing disease progression".

About ALS

Essential features of ALS are progressive signs and symptoms of lower motor neuron dysfunction (atrophy, cramps, and fasciculations) associated with corticospinal tract signs (spasticity, enhanced and pathological reflexes). Even though the incidence of ALS is similar to that of multiple sclerosis, the prevalence is only 4-6/100,000 (about 25,000 patients in the United States), due to the higher mortality rate. The course is relentless with declines in strength, respiratory function and overall function during the active phase of the disease. No treatment prevents, halts or reverses the disease, although riluzole use is associated with a slight prolongation of survival.

About masitinib

Masitinib is a new orally administered tyrosine kinase inhibitor that targets mast cells, important cells for immunity, as well as a limited number of kinases that play key roles in various cancers. Owing to its novel mechanism of action, masitinib can be developed in a large number of conditions in oncology, in inflammatory diseases, and in certain diseases of the central nervous system. Through its activity of inhibiting certain kinases that are essential in some oncogenic processes, masitinib may have an effect on tumor regression, alone or in combination with chemotherapy. Through its activity on the mast cell and certain kinases essential to the activation of the inflammatory cells and fibrosing tissue remodeling, masitinib can have an effect on the symptoms associated with some inflammatory and central nervous system diseases.

About AB Science

Founded in 2001, AB Science is a pharmaceutical company specializing in the research, development and commercialization of protein kinase inhibitors (PKIs), a new class of targeted molecules whose action is to modify signaling pathways within cells. Through these PKIs, the Company targets diseases with high unmet medical needs (cancer, inflammatory diseases, and central nervous system diseases), in both human and veterinary medicines.

AB Science has developed a proprietary portfolio of molecules and the Company's lead compound, masitinib, has already been registered for veterinary medicine in Europe and in the USA, and is pursuing nine on-going phase 3 studies in human medicine in GIST, metastatic melanoma expressing JM mutation of c-Kit, multiple myeloma, mastocytosis, severe persistent asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer's disease and progressive forms of multiple sclerosis. The company is headquartered in Paris, France, and listed on Euronext Paris (ticker: AB).

Further information is available on AB Science website:

This document contains prospective information. No guarantee can be given as for the realization of these forecasts, which are subject to those risks described in documents deposited by the Company to the Authority of the financial markets, including trends of the economic conjuncture, the financial markets and the markets on which AB Science is present.

AB Science EN:

CONTACT: AB Science - Financial Communication & Media Relations investors@ab-science.comSource:AB Science