According to a story from globenewswire.com, the biotechnology company Emerald Health Pharmaceuticals Inc., has announced recently that its experimental drug EHP-102 has earned Orphan Drug designation from the European Medicines Agency (EMA). This investigational therapy is being developed as a treatment for Huntington’s disease. Emerald is focused on the development of cannabinoid based medications. EHP-102 has also previously earned this designation from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
About Huntington’s Disease
Huntington’s disease is a heritable disorder that causes brain cells to die. This is a long term, progressive, and ultimately lethal disease that causes severe debilitation over time. The disease is caused by a genetic mutation that affects the HTT gene. It normally appears between 30 and 50 years, but in rare cases it can occur before age 20. Symptoms of Huntington’s may first appear as subtle mood and behavioral changes and loss of coordination. Other symptoms include random movements called chorea, abnormal posture, and sleep issues; trouble chewing, swallowing, and speaking; and dementia, anxiety, depression, and impulsivity. Nine percent of deaths are the result of suicide. Treatment for Huntington’s disease is symptomatic, with no cure or disease altering therapies available. Most patients die around 15 to 20 years after their diagnosis. To learn more about Huntington’s disease, click here.
About Orphan Drug Designation in the EU
Orphan Drug designation in the EU is reserved for therapies that are designed to treat rare, life-threatening, chronic diseases. Rare is defined as any disease that affects no greater than 5 in every 10,000 people in the EU. In addition, the drug must satisfy a currently unmet medical need or must display substantial advantages over currently available therapies for the intended indication. The designation confers a number of benefits to the recipient company, such as funds from the European Commission for trials, reduced fees, protocol assistance, and a ten year period of market exclusivity if the drug is approved.
EHP-102 is derived from the cannabinoid cannabigerol (CBG). Prior research suggests that this substance possesses neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties. EHP-102 has been modified in such a way that it provides enhanced benefits compared to CBG. It is currently being developed to treat Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.