Avalon and GSK Launch New Startup Focused on ALS

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Avalon Ventures have partnered to fund a new ALS-focused start-up company called Iron Horse Therapeutics (not to be confused with the ALS diagnostics company, Iron Horse Diagnostics). Based on research showing that the protein-tyrosine kinase ephrin type-A receptor 4 (EphA4) is a modifier gene in ALS, and mice and humans with lower EphA4 expression have a less aggressive course of disease (see Aug 2012 news), Iron Horse Therapeutics is moving forward with development of small molecule inhibitors of EphA4. Iron Horse will receive up to $10 million in seed funding as well as R&D support from the partners, up until the stage of lead drug candidate selection, when the partners will decide whether to acquire the company.

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