Better lives for neuro-oncology patients

Izumi focuses on developing better drugs for serious diseases of the nervous system


MDA Award to Izumi Biosciences Will Support Development of ALS Drug Combination

The Muscular Dystrophy Association has awarded an MDA Venture Philanthropy (MVP) grant totaling $96,360 to Lexington, Mass.-based Izumi Biosciences, Inc., to fund early-stage development of IZ10023, a type of drug called a “pharmacokinetic (PK) enhancer,” for use in people with ALS who are taking riluzole. Full press release


ALS is a rapidly progressive and ultimately lethal neurodegenerative disease. Patients experience a mere transient benefit from riluzole, the only FDA approved drug: In early stages of ALS, riluzole slows disease progression, this benefit is lost in late stages.

Upon ALS progression, two pumps are over-expressed in the diseased spinal cords of ALS patients. These pumps remove riluzole, causing ineffective local drug levels and thus a loss of efficacy. IZ10023 is a potent inhibitor of both pumps that selectively re-distributes drugs from peripheral organs to the pump-protected brain while plasma levels remain relatively unchanged. Maintaining effective drug levels in diseased tissues may enhance muscle function and prolong survival.

Izumi develops oral IZ10023 for patient trials. Our DoD CDMRP funded project seeks to test the effect of IZ10023 on riluzole levels in rodent brains and manufacture drug supplies for further studies. In ALS patient trials we seek to confirm that IZ10023 enhances riluzole efficacy while maintaining safety. The dual pump blocker IZ10023 may remove a key obstacle to effective drug therapy and provide a foundation for future drug combinations to further improve the outcomes for ALS and possibly other patients.


  • Chief Executive Officer, Founder, and President: Ton Bunt MD, MBA
  • Patent: Carolyn Elmore, Elmore Patent Law Group PC; former examiner at USPTO
  • CMC-QA, Formulation: Gautam Ranade and John Koleng
  • Pharmacology: Olaf van Tellingen, Netherlands Cancer Institute
  • Regulatory, tox: Mary Ellen Cosenza, head US regulatory Amgen; 55 INDs 16 NDA/BLAs
  • IT: Sebastian Wernicke
  • Finance: Robert Bonavito, CPA

ALS Experts

  • Geert Jan Groeneveld, Center for Human Drug Research (CHDR) Leiden
  • Leonard van den Berg, UMC Utrecht
  • Nicholas Maragakis, Johns Hopkins

Business Advisory Board

  • Geert Cauwenbergh, CEO Rxi Pharma
  • Bart van Rhijn, head finance Galderma
  • Jan van Heek, ex-EVP Genzyme
  • Ronald Krall, ex-CMO GSK


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