Scientists from the universities of Birmingham and Sheffield have partnered with NLC Health Ventures for the launch of Midland Pharmaceuticals to focus on the development of a new therapeutic for spinal cord injury and cerebrovascular disease, including stroke.

Dr Peter Suzdak is serving as the CEO of Midland.

The newly launched company will advance the clinical development of MLP-1236, a dual inhibitor of MMP-9 and MMP-12 enzymes that are associated with the inflammatory process following injury to the central nervous system.

MLP-1236 has concluded Phase I and Phase IIa clinical trials, demonstrating safety and tolerability.

The therapeutic has shown promise in preclinical models, effectively reversing pathologies associated with spinal cord injury and reducing brain tissue death in stroke models.

Following fundraising efforts, Midland Pharmaceuticals plans to initiate a Phase IIb clinical trial for spinal cord injury patients and a subsequent trial for stroke.

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Suzdak said: “The loss of sensory and motor function that occurs following spinal cord injury and stroke represents a major unmet medical need.

“Current therapies offer only modest symptomatic benefits to these patients but do not treat the underlying neuronal damage that occurs. Inhibition of MMP-9 and -12 with MLP-1236 has the possibility of transforming the way these patients are treated.”

Stroke and spinal cord damage are medical disorders that can cause death or lifelong disability. There is a need for new, more potent therapeutic approaches since current medicines are either ineffective or just provide symptomatic alleviation.

Researchers from both universities are experienced in drug discovery and clinical development.