Georgetown University Licenses Use of Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors for Treatment of Neurodegenerative Diseases

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WASHINGTON (May 19, 2017) — Georgetown University today announces it has exclusively licensed worldwide intellectual property (IP) rights to develop and commercialize uses of tyrosine kinase (TK) inhibitors for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases to Axovant Sciences GmbH. The application of TK inhibiting compounds for use in neurodegenerative diseases was discovered by a Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) researcher.

Georgetown holds an issued patent and several pending patent applications for the use of select TK inhibitors for the treatment of certain neurodegenerative diseases. Charbel Moussa, MBBS, PhD, scientific and clinical research director for GUMC’s Translational Neurotherapeutics Program, is the named inventor on the IP.

“The mechanism by which tyrosine kinase inhibitors affect neurodegenerative disorders appears to involve autophagy in the clearance of neurotoxic proteins associated with neurodegenerative diseases,” explains Moussa, an assistant professor in GUMC’s Department of Neurology.

Moussa collaborated with Fernando Pagan, MD, director of the Movement Disorders Program at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital who is the principal investigator on a phase II, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial, which launched earlier this year to evaluate the safety and tolerability of low doses of nilotinib, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor, in Parkinson’s disease. A second study also was launched for Alzheimer’s disease, on which R. Scott Turner, MD, PhD, director of GUMC Memory Disorders Program, is principal investigator.

“Our understanding of the autophagy process in neurodegenerative diseases represents the newest frontier of neurotherapeutic research and changes the paradigm on how we think about these diseases,” Moussa says.

About Georgetown University Medical Center
Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) is an internationally recognized academic medical center with a three-part mission of research, teaching and patient care (through MedStar Health). GUMC’s mission is carried out with a strong emphasis on public service and a dedication to the Catholic, Jesuit principle of cura personalis — or “care of the whole person.” The Medical Center includes the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing & Health Studies, both nationally ranked; Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, designated as a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute; and the Biomedical Graduate Research Organization, which accounts for the majority of externally funded research at GUMC including a Clinical and Translational Science Award from the National Institutes of Health. Connect with GUMC on Facebook (new window) (, Twitter (new window) (@gumedcenter) and Instagram (new window) (@gumedcenter).