Adrian Harel Gets Head Trauma Funding

Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation, Tekes, has granted Medicortex initial funding to develop a new treatment to limit the long-term effects of brain injuries.

Founded by Adrian Harel, former CEO of BrainStorm, Medicortex Finland is also hoping to identify a biomarker and a diagnostic test so that the severity and extent of brain injuries can be reliably established.

Medicortex’s treatment involves three chemical mechanisms simultaneously, binding free metal ions in the brain as well as limiting the damage caused by free radical oxidation. This approach is aimed at preventing the secondary brain damage.

As reported by Vincent Landon, the company, which is based in Turku, is looking for investors and has launched a crowd funding campaign for preclinical development. In May, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation, Tekes, granted Medicortex 94,000 euros.

Brain injury is one of the largest and most serious unmet medical needs in the world today, says neurobiologist Dr. Adrian Harel. Every year 1.7 million people in the US and 2.5 million in Europe suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI), which could result from a car accident or sports injury or fall. In addition, millions more worldwide suffer from an acquired brain injury (ABI) like a stroke or exposure to toxic gas or growth of a tumour or any infection of the brain.

Most of the damage caused by TBI does not occur upon the initial impact to the head but as a consequence of secondary brain injury. Currently, there are no drugs that can stop this development.

At the moment, doctors have no way of diagnosing or determining the amount and severity of the damage caused by a brain injury.

— We are developing a biomarker, which could indicate whether a patient should stay for overnight observation or be hospitalised for two weeks to be treated, says Harel.

The goal is to incorporate the biomarker into a quick and accurate diagnostic kit that can be easily used by healthcare professionals. Ideally, the kit would not only diagnose the presence of brain injury. It would also quantify its severity and indicate the precise treatment needed.

— Since the injury is so complex, you cannot treat it with a single silver bullet, says Harel. — You need a drug which will address several processes. We are investigating molecules that could stop a chain of events, several biochemical processes at the same time, thereby preventing the long-term deterioration of the brain.

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