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Scripps Research Institute and OPKO Health have announced a global agreement for the development and commercialization of SR 3306, a novel compound discovered by Scripps Florida scientists that blocks the destruction of brains cells in animal models of Parkinson’s disease.

“This licensing agreement will help insure that the development of this promising compound keeps moving forward,” said Scripps Research Professor Philip LoGrasso, Ph.D., whose laboratory has led the research on the compound to date. “This is one of the best opportunities we have for the development of an effective neuroprotective treatment for Parkinson’s patients.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Scripps Research has granted to OPKO Health exclusive worldwide rights to develop, manufacture, and commercialize SR 3306 and related compounds that inhibit a class of enzymes called jun-N-terminal kinsases (JNK) that play an important role in neuron survival. The new compound would potentially be the first to protect the brain from the ravages of Parkinson’s disease.

“We are excited to be working with Dr. LoGrasso and The Scripps Research Institute to develop this important compound which could prevent the progression of Parkinson’s disease and not just treat the symptoms of the disease,” said Phillip Frost, M.D., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of OPKO.

Parkinson’s disease, a degenerative neurological disorder that reduces the brain’s ability to produce dopamine, affects about 1 million Americans. Currently prescribed drugs for Parkinson’s disease—including levodopa and so-called MAO-B inhibitors—can counteract symptoms of the disease but not stop its progression.

The LoGrasso lab described SR-3306 in a pair of studies published in February 2011 in the journal ACS Chemical Neuroscience.

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