Novartis to pursue SMA drug branaplam in Huntington’s disease

ZURICH (Reuters) – Novartis is seeking to repurpose its investigational oral spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) drug branaplam to treat Huntington’s disease, the Swiss drugmaker said on Wednesday, as it plans a clinical trial after winning U.S. orphan drug designation.

Novartis has been studying branaplam in SMA, but last year hinted that it would pivot to new neurological diseases after its head of research Jay Bradner said he did not see a “big opportunity” in its original disease indication.

The drug remains under study for SMA, but now Novartis said it wants to see if trials in humans can duplicate preclinical models in which branaplam was shown to reduce levels of a mutant protein that plays a role in Huntington’s disease, for which there are no approved disease modifying therapies that delay disease onset or slow progression.

“Novartis intends to start a development program for branaplam to determine if it has the potential to be a transformative treatment for people living with this devastating condition,” the company said in a statement.

Roche beat Novartis’s branaplam to the market with an oral SMA therapy, Evrysdi, which was approved earlier this year.

(Reporting by John Miller, editing by John Revill)

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NEET results 2020: Mumbai’s top scorers aim to pursue medicine at 94-year-old civic-run Seth GS Medical College – education

NEET results 2020: A day after the National Testing Agency (NTA) announced results for the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET UG), celebrations continue in several Mumbai households. Several top performers scored 700 out of 720, making it possible to bag a seat in the institute of their choice.

Jayatra Shah (18), scored 180 on 180 in the physics section of the examination while his overall score was 700 out of 720. “I’ve spent the past few months focussing on my HSC board exam as well as NEET. I am very happy with my NEET score. This should help me bag a seat in GS Medical College (attached to KEM hospital, Parel), where my brother is currently pursuing his third year MBBS,” said Shah, whose father is an ophthalmologist and mother a gynaecologist.

Anuj Doshi (18) and his twin brother Agam spent the last few months studying together and have both scored well. “My motivation was a promise I made to my teachers that I will do well in the entrance exam and I’m glad I managed to keep my promise. After MBBS I wish to pursue higher education in either hospital administration and management or artificial intelligence (AI),” said Anuj, who scored 700 on 720 in NEET-UG while his brother Agam scored 645. Anuj also wants to pursue medicine at Seth GS Medical College.

The state topper this year was 18-year old Ashish Zantye from Malwan, Sindhudurg district. He scored 710 out of 720, bagging the all India rank of 19.

The Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER) will announce dates for admissions to state medical and dental colleges soon. Admissions will be conducted by the state common entrance test (CET) cell.

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