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Drug development

Drug candidate for Wilson disease to be further developed

Helmholtz Zentrum München and academic partners in the US entered into an exclusive license agreement with Arbormed towards further developing and globally commercializing a potential drug for the treatment of Wilson disease.

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The license agreement is based on the joint research success of Helmholtz Zentrum München, the University of Michigan, the Iowa State University and the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire who had previously identified Methanobactin – a small peptide produced by certain methanotrophic bacteria with exceptionally high copper affinity making it a potential drug candidate for Wilson disease. In animal models, the researchers were able to show that the treatment with this specific peptide caused a fast liver restoration. It also avoided acute liver failure.

Arbormed will carry on further preclinical and clinical development of Methanobactin. Future findings should be translated into clinical application for the benefit of Wilson disease patients. The novel drug candidate holds the potential for a more effective therapy for patients with advanced stages of liver disease – the leading cause of mortality. 

About Wilson disease

Wilson disease is a rare but severe heritable disease of copper homeostasis affecting heavily the health of liver and brain. If left untreated, Wilson disease can become lethal. Current clinical treatments with copper chelators may only reduce the “tip of the iceberg” of copper overload and barely deplete copper systemically. Until today, patients have to be administered several times daily, lifelong, and consequently are linked to a plethora of severe adverse effects and a very unsatisfactory patient compliance.