One of the major objectives of research into new treatments for Parkinson’s disease is to find alternatives to the stimulation of the dopaminergic system through L-DOPA and dopamine agonists with the adverse effects linked to their long-term use. One target that is now receiving much attention from the scientific community is the metabotropic glutamate receptor mGluR4. Some academic groups have demonstrated that novel mGluR4 positive allosteric modulators (PAMs) could – if not reverse – at least stop the progress of the disease.
Recently founded in Geneva, Switzerland, Prexton Therapeutics is developing novel mGluR4 PAM series, which were originally developed by Merck Serono, an affiliate of Merck KGaA in Darmstadt, Germany. Considerable effort has gone into creating chemical diversity of drug-like molecules with properties suitable for brain diseases, such as blood-brain barrier penetration or an ADME/PK profile optimized to achieve target coverage. The compounds show high potency on the mGluR4 target and selectivity over the other mGluR subtypes. We believe that these compounds represent a unique opportunity to build a high quality development pipeline of therapeutics for Parkinson’s disease.